Last updated on May 16th, 2022 at 11:21 pm
Succeed by Lowering Your Standards
If you’re like me, you have trouble finishing things.
Maybe you fancy yourself a writer. You’ve got your topic all planned out. Thousands of ideas have been bouncing off your cranium for days and by now your inspired — nay, itching to write.
And then your cursor just sits there. Blinking. On. And off. And on. And off.
If you’re like me, this happens almost every time you start a new project. Sometimes you don’t even start because you’d rather just skip the mindless staring and get on with the part where you feel like a failure. In place of creative fulfillment, you feel a void. You learn to fill this void with mind-numbing tasks: the same mobile game, the same Netflix series, the same crippling sense of numbness…
Except… what actually stopped you?
Usually what stops me isn’t lack of ideas, but the hard truth that my skills fall far short of the concept in my mind. Now comes the interactive part of this post. Form the following words with your lips:
It’s hard to see ideas through to reality. That’s why the phrase exists: “Everyone’s their own worst critic.” Nine times out of ten, your work will fall victim to the limits of your ability. But that’s ok because the important thing is to have made something that didn’t exist before.
Creativity is a chain reaction. If it was written in the Bible it would look like this: “One Idea begat Another Idea. Another Idea lived for twenty minutes and begat Yet Another Idea, who begat The Big Idea, the mother of all finished artworks. There are forty generations….” Creativity is a chain reaction.
The thing is, if you ignore an idea because it’s not good enough, it will never get better. That’s what I’ve been trying to teach myself these last few months. The only way to do anything ever… is to do the thing once… and then to learn from that experience and to do the next thing better. Even the masters have to start somewhere.
“The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great ‘cause they paint a lot.”
— Macklemore, Ten Thousand Hours
So this is a call to action. I’m calling you, and I’m calling me to action. Take that idea that’s been bouncing off your cranium and put it on paper. And from there, build it until it’s the best it can be. And if it’s not very good, then at least you’ve made something that wasn’t there before. That’s pretty amazing.