Every 12 months I ask myself 10 questions to review the prior year. The second on that list is: What was the best thing you built/created?
Sadly, and for no other fault than my own, for many years the answer to this question was very little. With so much information and media available to us, it’s easy to end up down the YouTube rabbit hole every night. I deleted all my social media over 5 years ago, but there is ALWAYS another outlet vying for your attention.
There’s also two quotes from Elon Musk where he says something along the lines of:
‘NEWS FLASH – If people don’t build new stuff. There is NO new stuff“.
‘Too many smart people work in Finance and Law. Not enough smart people are building things.’
These were from his Joe Rogan Podcast #1470 – link here.
All three of these things struck a chord with me. Most of my life I’ve been consuming a whole lot more than I was creating/ contributing to the world. This is a problem. This blog helps alleviate some of this low feeling, but also accentuates the power of coding. If you have an idea for a website, app, device, automation – whatever it may be – you can build it yourself.
Life sounds a lot more interesting when you can engineer tools to compliment it!
There are also a HOST of other activities that can contribute rather than consume. Do some art, write a poem, teach a skill. It might not be the easiest and you may have to convince yourself but I reckon it’s worth it.
Writing a book has also been a goal of mine for many years. I have fond memories filling notebooks with short stories, planning elaborate plots and perfecting my storytelling. Throughout my 31 years I’ve even finished TWO BOOKS. This sounds amazing but I never published them. Now more than ever, this is the easiest thing to do. Fear took over. In my mind there were too many barriers. Some of them were:
Getting over Ego
This is one of the BIG things I had to address. Who would be interested? Do I know enough to share with others? These were questions constantly flying through my mind. Self promotion comes easy to some but NOT to me. I’m happy working silently in the shadows but there is great value in personal perspective and view. I journal in my personal life weekly. What’s the difference to sharing some of my more creative thoughts and projects online?
The downside is actually very little.
Austin Kleon wrote a great book called ‘Show your work‘. I have to remind myself to re-read this constantly as it’s an incredible insight to the power of sharing your skills and your ideas with the world.
What will my friends/ family think?
This was another big one. I used to be a serial perfectionist and would only share things that were complete in my mind. All the way down to thoughts and feelings – unless they were concrete and logical, what’s the point in airing it?
Building or creating would easily take a back-seat when there is so much other content to see and do. What will my family think if they see I write a daily blog? What will my friends say if they read some of my content?
I have a close friend who has chronicled his life online for MANY years. Even in secondary school he was writing blogs and recording videos to share with his ‘network’ – at the start, just friends and family. He is without a doubt one of the most inspirational people I know and I admire his wisdom and confidence to share his achievements and failures with the world. I only have admiration for my friends who create more than they consume and I would do well to replicate their actions in my own life.
The cold hard truth is – no one really cares what you get up to unless it impacts them. Once you get over that, it’s a lot easier to get started.
Sticking with it
Consistency is the key to everything. Another great book entitled Atomic Habits, details the impact of small, CONSISTENT action. Often, it’s not the big, elaborate actions that give the greatest results – but the smaller day to day activities. You won’t see an immediate effect, but over the years it’s cumulative.
You can break this down with anything. Writing a novel is a scary endeavor. Writing a page a day is less so. It’ll take you much longer but you’ll still get it done eventually. This is slightly pulling away from the topic of ‘consistency’, but breaking HUGE tasks down into smaller manageable ones makes it easier to maintain.
If you love to write – a short story every 6 months sounds atrocious. Fast forward 10 years and you’ll have a bible.
Anyway – i’ve rambled here, but the idea is to CREATE MORE than I consume this year. Let’s put my creativity to the test and see what I can do!