We are our greatest creative enemies.
When it comes to finding what we’re passionate about, becoming what we dream of, combating our demons, or doing any sort of work, the one thing that really stands in our way is ourselves.
Let’s say you want to become a writer, what do you do first?
Some people would answer: “I don’t know where to start.” Great, that’s at least a start.
The problem is that the people who say that will still not recognize it as a start. So we’ll give them a hand and say: if you want to be a writer you simply start by writing. It doesn’t really matter what right now, just write. Every day, preferably in the same journal or app or whatever. Write until you physically can’t write any more.
The same approach goes for becoming a painter, or a dancer, or musician, or entrepreneur, or whatever. You have to start doing those things. Even if the task at hand is a bit more ambiguous, like figuring out what you want to do with your life (in which case you need to start finding things to do and then go do them).
But a lot of people stop at this step too.
Common problems at this phase are: I don’t have the right tool for the job, or I don’t have enough time/money/support/creativity.
Those are excuses though. They’re bricks you’ve setup yourself, enough to create a wall that is both daunting and strong, it’s a wall you’ve built between where you are and where you want to be.
But you built the thing yourself, probably without even realizing it. Which means you can tear it down, if you recognize the tools you have to do so.
Your best tool is to just go around the damn wall. Forget about excuses and actually do something.
If you want to write but don’t own a typewriter or a $2,000 computer: congratulations, you don’t need that stuff any way. A napkin and a $1 pen will work wonders for getting at least a few words out.
If time is an excuse: learn to schedule in what it is you want to do. Even if that means you have to wake up ten minutes earlier than usual tomorrow. No excuses, you’ve got things to do.
No matter what it is you want to do - become the President, open a watch factory, write a novel that later becomes a TV series, anything - you have to just start. Preferably right now. Do something.
What you end up working with right now may not be perfect, it may even feel crummy or stupid, but guess what? It’s something, and that’s a million times better than nothing.
When you ignore your inner excuses and start: there will be you, running head-first to the goal line, and every one else will still be way back there at the start wondering which foot to put out first.
Photo by Steven Depolo.