I think it could be said that one of the biggest things that holds us back is that we try to hard to be a specific type of way or create a certain kind of thing. Often our efforts go into emulating what we have already seen done and the way that we think or have been told that things should be.
When this occurs instead of just doing our work and creating, we put limits on ourselves.
Suddenly, the ideas you have end up being tweaked and altered because you haven’t seen things done that way and you’d rather go with what’s been seen to work.
I think a reason we do this is because we don’t have enough self belief to really do things the way we want plus, we want things to work out.
When you’re someone that creates, you never want to put your heart and soul into something and it not be well received. People not taking to your work feels personal because it came from you and often we end up internalising that feeling and coming up with stories like ‘I’m not good enough…’.
The way to avoid all this is to just be, just create. The more you create, the more you find your own flow and no longer feel like you need to mimic others. The work you do will become so much more gratifying.
The more you create, the more you lower the stakes. The first time you create something that comes from you might be scary but over time once it becomes more familiar, it will get easier.
There is a popular saying goes something like ‘insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results’.
But what’s worth understanding is that sometimes you need to do the same thing over and over again.
Take meditation for example, it’s very rare that you get it the first time. It could take ten times, that doesnt mean you should stop.
Or, maybe you’re an artist taking your work to galleries, or a writer pitching to publications. Just because things don’t work out the first or 15th time, doesn’t mean you should stop. But, of course if you’re doing something that costs money don’t go broke trying to make things work.
I think it’s good to have the determination to keep going even when things aren’t working out.
But it’s also important to know when to pivot. The end goal doesn’t need to change but maybe your approach should.
When doing something new, if you don’t do it well or you face challenges along the way, you might find yourself feeling frustrated.
Sometimes, that feeling you get will determine your willingness to do the thing again and effect how much effort you put in.
Finding it difficult in the beginning might even cause you to believe that you’ll never get it.
However, often the case is that you just need to do it a few more times until it becomes more familiar.
Then in time it’ll become easier.
There is always so much emphasis on the work, on dedicating your time, effort and energy. There are quotes like the grind don’t stop or I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, being dedicated and focusing on making money or building something (as in a non-physical thing like community).
But what about fun?
When was the last time you consciously set time aside to do something for fun, to make yourself laugh and bring a little joy into your life. The work, your work is great and it matters but it doesn’t have to be your whole life.
And the fun can be short and free, in fact it’s better that way. It could be watching Key and Peele skits on YouTube, having a solo dance party or maybe baking cupcakes.
As much as the work matters, there is also so much more to life that you might end up missing out on when you don’t make time for fun.
When you’re a kid, not learning in a lesson or not being interetsed in the subject or topic being taught can happen when you don’t like the person teaching you.
At a young age some people totally rule out subjects like Math, Science, History or Art simple because of who the information is coming from.
But when you get older, when you’re at the age where you’ve picked the subject that you study you focus much less on who is teaching you because the stakes are higher and you’re choosing to be there.
In England you choose your GCSE subjects at 13, you’re A-levels at 15 and your Degree at 17. By the time you get to University, so much has changed. You’re studying something that you have picked for yourself and you’re now paying to be there.
When you’re 12 and don’t like your History teacher, don’t pay attention and perform poorly in class you can always say ‘Well, I don’t even care about this class, it’s boring’. Not much happens as a result of you getting a low grade when you’re 12. You have to be in school because it’s the law however, it’s free.
Now let’s skip forward to being 19 and doing a Civil Engineering degree. If you choose to not pay attention because you don’t like your Structural Engineering lecturer no one is going to force you to listen or make an effort.
But you could end up failing the module or even therefore failing the course overall. This might mean you have to resit an exam or you could end up changing your entire career plans. Nobody had to go to university, it’s a choice and it costs around £9000 every year.
The older you get, the less it matters who the information is coming from because you realise that it shouldn’t have really mattered in the first place. Overtime, you also realise that your end goal will always be so much more than the room you’re sitting in, the module you’re learning or even the course you’ve chosen to study.
So, today I tried something new in the kitchen that involved shortcrust pastry.
My hopes were high but unfortunately the end result was pretty terrible.
I tried to rectify it but to no avail.
I found myself feeling a little frustrated because it wasn’t a complicated dish and I thought it was going well, until it wasn’t.
But once I got thinking I realised that it wasn’t so bad. I was lucky enough that there was plenty of other food in my house so I didn’t have to go hungry.
And then I moved on to thinking about what went wrong and what I could do differently next time in order to improve the outcome. I could roll the pastry thinner, I could cook the pastry for longer, I could use less egg for the filling or I could follow a recipe properly rather than just for the amount of butter and flour for the pastry.
The bottom line is that I tried something new and it didn’t work out how I had hoped. That’s something that happens a lot in life and I think the issue is that we consider it to be a bad thing when in fact it’s a normal thing.
It’s normal for things to not work out sometimes especially when it’s something you’re doing for the first time. It’s all just part of the learning process. And if you’re willing to try again, then there’s a possibility that things can get better.
If often goes that the pieces you put the most effort into, spent the most time writing and generally are the ones you put the most heart into are the least popular.
Turns out sometimes your reader won’t be as enamored with the work that you consider to be your best, in fact they may hate it.
And so you may now find yourself with the dilemma of whether you should continue sharing what you consider to be your best work when your readers don’t seem to like it.
For me the answer is yes, your work should be about so much more than simply pleasing the reader.
Just because something isn’t popular, doesn’t mean that it isn’t any good or that it isn’t appreciated.
Often we look at situations and systems that are in place and we hope for better.
We are able to identify there is a gap between where we are and where we want to be.
And even if you have no idea how to bridge the gap, identifying it is the perfect place to begin.
You can then start thinking about how things could be better and what sort of changes should be implemented.
You can start asking useful questions like why certain things are the way they are and what can be done to change them.
Of course it is not solely up to you to make change as it would be impossible for one person to do it all. However, I think a bunch of individuals that are willing to hope for better than what we currently have is exactly what we need.
We need people that are willing to ask the right questions, people that are willing to say maybe we should try something different and most of all people that are willing to act even if they don’t directly benefit.
You can go from making grand plans one day to forgetting why you wanted to change your life the next.
It can be hard to shake the unhelpful habits that bind you to your past self. Even though you know they don’t benefit you and that you should change them, you can’t.
And it’s not that you haven’t tried, you just haven’t been able to make any real long term change.
Maybe somedays you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother trying to change at all.
But change takes time and if you really want it, the effort it takes will always be worth it.
When it comes to being creative and putting stuff out there, often we end up focusing on the wrong thing.
We ignore the audience we already have and put our efforts into reaching new people with the hope of growing and growing.
However, what often ends up happening is we lose our current audience in the process because they no longer feel like we’re creating for them.
Instead, you’re much better off putting your efforts into creating for the people that are already here. Those people are already interested and given time will care enough to spread the word, if what you’re putting out is good enough.