What does it take to truly unlock your creative potential?
I’ve written at length about the habits of geniuses like Einstein, Picasso and Stephen King…but I saw a quote last week by radio host/producer Ira Glass that I believe sums up the experience of creative growth PERFECTLY — especially with regard to the inevitable feelings of inadequacy that plague even very talented people.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.
We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.
Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Reading that quote again, I can’t help but think about my feelings when writing my first major book this year.
I really want it to be good. I hope it is.
Hopefully the hundreds of articles and blog posts I’ve written up to this point have shaped my work enough to give it the unique voice I always heard in my head, but often struggled to translate into words.
In the meantime, all I can do is continue to create the best work I can, knowing that I’ll get better with time — and if possible — try to enjoy the process.
You should actively and intentionally train your mind enjoy the process of struggle to become great while you’re still not that that good.
You should not to look in hindsight, only congratulating yourself after you’ve already accomplished something.
And you should not preoccupy yourself with “future casting,” only getting excited about things that haven’t happened yet.
These mindsets rob us of the ability to enjoy what’s actually happening in your life right now.
If you’re constantly filled with the anxiety of trying to “make progress,” and things aren’t happening quickly enough for you, trust me, I’ve been there.
Check out this quick video to learn how you can overcome the constant frustration of not making progress “fast enough.”