I get excited when I finish writing this newsletter.
Not because the work is done, but because of the value I anticipate it will deliver to you.
There’s a difference and it’s an important one to consider in your own creative work.
If you’re happier to be finished with a project than you are to share it with an audience, the chances are you’re working on the wrong project.
Just something to keep in mind.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“People claim to want to do something that matters, yet they measure themselves against things that don’t, and track their progress not in years but in microseconds. They want to make something timeless, but they focus instead on immediate payoffs and instant gratification.”
This collection of 17 ideas to improve your creative work includes excerpts from the book about why only is better than best, why the best marketing is your next creation, and why you should listen to people who tell you something’s wrong with your work but ignore them when they tell you how to fix it.
“Realizing I’m never going to be in the mood to do anything. I would literally live the life of a cat if left to my own instincts and someone would feed me. Getting things done is ignoring my instincts and getting out of my mind.”
It’s amazing what one question on Reddit can produce sometimes.
In this case, the question “What is that one simple change in your life that gave you incredibly great results” sparked a 12,000 comment discussion with answers ranging from drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up, to calming down while driving, to putting a treadmill near the TV.
The top-voted answer at the moment is, “Saying no. It’s incredibly liberating.”
“The artist’s journey comes after the hero’s journey. Everything that has happened to us up to this point is rehearsal for us to act, now, as our true self and to find and speak in our true voice. The artist’s journey is the process of self-discovery that follows. It will last as long as we’re alive, and maybe longer.”
This one’s a little difficult to summarize and not laid out in the most reader-friendly format, but it’s worth checking out.
Steven Pressfield has been unspooling what he calls The Artist’s Journey on his blog over the course of the past few months and it’s a fascinating look at how he sees the evolution of a creative career.
The best way to consume it is probably to start here on his category page, and scroll down to work your way through all of his Artist’s Journey posts.
“I never got to tell Hans how much I liked his book, but the world would be better if millions of people read it.”
If you’re looking to flesh out your summer reading list, you’ve come to the right place.
In this two-minute video, Bill Gates shares five books you should read this summer and explains why each is worth your time.
“To write every day, you need to break down every barrier you have. ‘That subject is too personal.’ ‘I don’t know how they’ll react if I write about them.’ ‘I’m not sure people will even care about what I have to say.’ The fastest way to not write is to hold topics off limits. It’s saying, ‘I want to pick a niche.’ Here’s the truth: You don’t pick a niche, it picks you.”
This post is geared toward business owners, but it applies to anybody whose primary profession isn’t being a writer.
“People’s own theories about who they are influence how they behave. One’s self-image can therefore easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
How well do you know yourself? Probably not as well as you think.
Scientific American shares 10 things you don’t know about yourself based on a slew of research into the subject of how people’s self-perception matches up to reality.
The findings include that our motives are often a complete mystery to us, we often think we’re better at something than we are, and that if you think of yourself as flexible you will do better.
“True mastery of the time scarcity demon only really comes from a mindset shift. We have to address the feeling rather than figure out the logistics of it all. Addressing the logistics (the hows and whats) don’t really change the feeling. The feeling will always be there, until we deal with it.”
You probably think you don’t have enough time to do all the things you want to do, but it turns out that’s not your real time management problem.
Leo Babauta explains how to master time scarcity and suggests the real problem isn’t that we don’t have enough time, but rather that we want to do too many things in the time we have to do them.
He suggests the way to counter this feeling of time scarcity is to retrain your mind from wanting more to focusing on the greatness of the moment in front of you.
“I haven’t heard about anyone selling out in a long while. Sometime between 2008 and 2018, capitalizing on your success as an artist to build a skate brand went from being reprehensible to being the thing that everyone is doing.”
This one gets a little deep, but it’s worth the journey.
Toby Shorin suggests we’ve seen a major cultural shift in the last decade or so and attempts to explain why selling out by artists is no longer considered a bad thing. In fact, it’s become aspirational and praised.
He attributes it to the complex relationship between authenticity and commodity — noting that, “People co-create their identities with brands just as they do with religions, communities, and other other systems of meaning.”
“Being alone a lot has been shown to increase everything from muscle tension to immune system issues — but it’s feeling alone, rather than actually being isolated, that can have big impacts on psychological and physical health.”
As somebody who works for himself and enjoys a fair amount of alone time, this one was an eye opener.
Bustle shares seven ways being alone changes your brain including that it changes how your brain finds happiness, improves your memory, and can make you moodier and less tolerant of others.
“Don’t spend your life and career trying to figure out how to be more like other people. How to model their work, mimic their talent, and thrive in their shadow. We don’t need another ‘them’ — we need YOU.”
If you need a little motivation today or struggle to find your place in the world, this one’s for you.
It’s a quick post I wrote about why the world needs you to do your thing and pointing out how the purpose of learning from others isn’t to copy what they do.