Consistency over Creativity
The life I live now started as an idea, a dream. And every time I’ve looked back and reflected after each goal on the way, I never quite mulled over the fact it all started with that dream.
So I want to know, or want you to know, where do your dreams take you?
Do you dream every day about being a successful business owner? Or feel excited about wanting to become an athlete at the Olympics? Or do you enjoy the idea of having a beautiful following and getting to spend your day talking about what you love?
Or, and refreshingly, do you dream of doing more of what you do now?
Our actual lives start with a simple dream, a creative blossom that becomes a divulgence into creating something that, at times, might scare us enough to share it or work hard enough. I’ve spent a fair amount of years glossing over how I’d like life to be different and advocating for myself to develop the creativity to figure things out and do it. But, the one thing I always lacked was consistency.
We, as individuals, tend to gather the belief that we’re so far away from those who seem to have it all or be where we want to be. But we, more often than not, can always find that we’re not that different from those people.
Everyone suffers doubt, failure, fear and insecurity, the same lack of creativity and those low moments that throw us verge of quitting. The pure difference between us and those who made it through is they held on for long enough.
A creative mind is what most people want and what some people believe is key to success—whatever that means to each of us. But, it took a while for me to learn it’s not about that.
It’s about consistency. And similarly: motivation rarely matters because discipline and action make you take the step forward.
And talent rarely matters, not least as much as practice does.
What I’m saying is we all start with an impossible dream, one that could take more creative energy just to choose than the entire process of getting it done. But to get what we want to do takes something more important than creativity or being unique or perfect from the jump: it takes getting things done and just being ferociously consistent with it—whether you feel good at it or not.
If you know the dream you want, and you spend every day thinking about reaching it, and it makes you smile when nobody’s looking, lean on consistency to get you there and nothing else.
What I’ve learned this week
Many people are perfectionists at the beginning of a new dream or project. Something new can make us feel like a light has cast itself over us, and this is finally our time to shine the way we wanted to. Early work is in the middle of that. It’s when you’re at the beginning of a goal, and your work is lacklustre. Like when you’ve recently started going to the gym and your form is embarrassing, or you started cooking and feel like you want to throw your concoction straight in the bin.
Now, imagine never having that beginners fear. Imagine not feeling like your early work can hold you back from being consistent and working on your skill. In fact, we can switch the feeling off. How? Paul Graham suggests surrounding yourself with the right people, downplaying the seriousness of what you’re creating, and remembering the early work stage is temporary.
Our fear of creating something terrible stops many of us from making progress, but with the right approach, you’ll find this habit of shying away from early work is not as deeply rooted as you think.
What’s on My Mind
Self-help gets a bad name. But those books, podcasts, people and ideas are what got me here: a million miles ahead of where I ever expected to be.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So it’s not really about avoidance of pain. It’s not really about the good times. It’s about the overarching outlook of life. About purpose and passion. About realising that pain is not unavoidable and not even always bad.
My Favourite Things This Week
Speak again soon.