Lately my drive has been slowly dropping and I’ve promised myself to not let it slip this time. I consider my relationship with making stuff to be cyclical:
- Max Motivation
- Steady decline
I experience this in all facets of my life. From school, blogging and taking photos to literally getting out of bed. And accepting that is oftentimes the biggest hurdle for me. Once things start to deescalate, I immediately perceive myself as somewhat of a ‘failure’. I have all these ideas and all this time to bring them to life, but unfortunately motivation or execution does not work like a mathematical equation and maybe we can figure out how to ‘hack’ it.
The No BS Policy
Personally, I’m trying to alleviate this decline by figuring out what makes me
take steps back take steps in the wrong direction. This bit is the hardest because it requires you to be real with yourself, even if that reality isn’t something you’re happy with or proud of. But think of it this way, would you rather have a clear and honest perception of the way you operate and consequently progress or live up the ‘illusion’ and remain stagnant. I’m sure, at heart, we all want the first option, but not everybody is capable of doing that because it’s f**king hard. Right now I would consider this process to be the most exhausting and time-consuming bit of it all, but *spoiler alert* it never ends but it gets progressively easier and enhances everything else you do. Which leads me on to.
Fall In Love With The Process
My fourteen year-old self would agree here, but as the icon Miley once said,
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
And she knew what’s up. It’s always harder to push through something strenuous when there is no reward. The point being, if you’re working exclusively for the reward, your motivation is completely dependent on one of the most unpredictable variables. What happens if you don’t get 100 reads on a post or 1000 followers or 10,000 listens on your stuff, does that mean you stop?
I will not shy away from saying that social media has made it increasingly difficult to receive reward and be driven by anything but reward. So you see how that’s a little bit of a pickle. And I won’t lie, every time I share something 100 times on every platform to my name and get reward that I don’t feel is equivalent to the amount of time/work/energy I’ve invested, it’s disheartening and, frankly, embarrassing. Because I feel like I’m putting myself out there – vulnerably – for practically nothing in return.
And that is where I am 1000% wrong.
Find Your Tools
The first time this lesson truly sunk in for me was thanks to my brother. My sixteen year-old brother, Haytem, has been busting his ass making stuff for a while now, from keeping up with school and playing soccer to posting videos on YouTube, participating in filmmaking contests and keeping his insta game strong and I find myself learning more from him than I ever have because it hit home. He recommended I watch GaryVee and highlighted the importance of loving the process, something I’ve noticed he does heaps more effortlessly than I do. And I was impressed because the truth of that statement hit home for me.
The package this truth is delivered in is sometimes more important than the content in terms of it hitting home and maybe some motivational videos won’t do the trick for you, but this is why you have to go out there and find what equips you to do what you do a little better. I’ve recently been digging into the professional trajectories of people I admire in order to get a realistic idea of how others create and what pushes them to continue to do so. Maybe you’d like to read about your field or watch videos or take free online courses or ask a friend who happens to do what you want to do. Whatever it is, don’t skimp on learning and experience, because you will find those resources are infinitely more valuable than anything else.
Do. Do. Do.
Creating (and living!!!) should not revolve around reward. You can spend your whole life throwing shit at the wall, waiting for it to stick, but the point is not for it to stick, the point is to throw it. (I feel like this is the nth time I say this, but I cannot say this enough). Of course, we’re all trying to reap something from what we do, but don’t make that your sole focus. Your focus should be to do what you want to do because the end goal is your happiness and fulfilment, and over time no matter what else you gain, if you don’t have happiness, you will feel like you have nothing.
It’s A Science. Treat It Like One.
Another bit I struggle with is the structured approach. I’m generally quite erratic. I bounce from one project to the next, from one goal to another, from one preoccupation to 10 others and not only is that absolutely chaotic, it’s not fruitful. Try your hand at everything, but have some idea of who you ‘are’ as a creator, being, friend, child, lover, whatever. If you don’t have some sort of a plan, doesn’t have to be clear-cut or specific, you’re going to be overwhelmed and the result is stopping because you just can’t manage it all.
I’ve even had this happen to me with friendships. Sometimes things just get so out of hand that you don’t even want to deal with them. You have so much you want to say or do or change but you can’t even wrap your head around it, so instead you disengage, stop reaching out and struggle accepting the consequences because you know you did nothing else to reach a different outcome. Find your tailor-made ‘structure’ and don’t be afraid to amend it as you change and grow, but always have an idea of where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.
Comparison Killed The Cat
Don’t compare yourself to anybody but yourself. One of the biggest standstills I face when creating or existing is the abundance of humans I can compare myself to. You compare and compare and compare and suddenly you’re nothing and there’s no point in doing anything. Then you don’t even want to get out of bed and you’re definitely doing nothing. A little bit is better than nothing. And you need to set your own standards. Invest that natural comparative energy into setting expectations for yourself to grow on your own terms and for you to become a better you, at every chance you get. You were not put on this Earth to be the best, and honestly, you’re never going to be the best, point blank. But you most definitely can be the best you to ever walk this Earth and people see that. We all recognise authenticity and hard-work and ambition and drive and we aspire for all of those things.
So don’t get lost in the illusion of the chase, comparing your hard-work to somebody else’s or your truth to another’s. Others are not more valuable than you are if they have more recognition. We all have something completely new to offer the world and if we don’t harness and pursue that, the world is missing out on us. Whereas we’re definitely not missing out on it if we’re out there, grinding, doing us, living authentically, taking the shit that gets thrown at you for doing you or for changing or for growing or for cutting ties that don’t work for you or for making work that only you see value in. You will never reach your potential if you stop today. And goddamn do I want to see that potential in all its glory, so go do it.
Love the process. Live authentically. Give less shits about everybody else and more shits about yourself. And most of all, thank you for growing and allowing me to grow alongside.
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