I think that we all know what works and what doesn't work, but in order to avoid doing the work, we come up with fake stories about what works. How do you make progress? You stick with it.
There are other things that matter, of course, but the big one is whether or not you stick with it. I read a blog post once where a trainer was talking about the two types of people that go to the gym. There are the types that go inconsistently, constantly trying to figure out a better way to train, and then there are the guys who just show up and keep trying to increase the weight they move.
Technique and strategy matter, of course, but not as much as sticking to it. After all, sticking to it will refine your technique. You learn what works and what doesn't, and you course correct. Starting with the best possible technique won't get you to persist, but persisting will get you to good technique. That's why it's the most important thing.
One of my favorite gems online is this forum thread. Jonathan Hardesty posted in 2002, saying that he would draw one sketch a day and post it online. He stuck with it for eight years. At first his drawings were terrible and inconsistent. Some would look halfway decent, but others were disasters. He drew whatever he felt like, almost at random. No person would look at his early work and say, "This guy has artistic talent".
But as time went on, his paintings started getting better and better. So did his technique. He would spend weeks studying anatomy or some new medium. Eventually his work became good, and then amazing. Now he's a professional artist, both through selling his paintings and through teaching.
He started out as a bad artist without a real game plan for improving other than working on it every day. Now he's a great artist.
When I think about Sett and the threats that may approach us, I'm not worried about some guy with a genius idea for blogging. Good ideas are good, but they're not what create greatness, and they're not even a necessary component of it. Sett is good not because we started with a complete vision of how it should be, but because we've worked on it tirelessly, always trying to improve it. It's good because we stuck with it.
Know what I'd love to see in the community section here? I'd love to see people saying, "Here's what I'm going to do to get good at X. I'll post every Y days in this thread with progress." Think about if someone did that-- can you imagine someone sticking with that plan for two years and not getting good at whatever they were doing? I can't. So if there's something you want to get good at-- why aren't you the person who commits to that plan, guaranteeing some level of success for yourself?
Photo is my favorite Van Gogh painting-- Almond Blossoms from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
A lot of people, hopefully not you, are living lives of glamorized, self inflicted, slavery. I've debated writing about this for a while, because of the connotation, but it's something I think about constantly. Sometimes I see someone working and I realize that they don't have the freedom to spend their days according to their own discretion. I try to empathize and imagine what it might be like, and as a result I feel a twinge of panic. It's unfathomable.
Time is all we have. If you're in a job that you don't enjoy, and you're not consistently saving up money, you are wasting your time. I don't care if you have a Porsche or a Schwinn, a penthouse or a room in a subleased apartment on the fringes of town. You can say that life is short, or you can say that it's long, but either way, it's finite. Today's the last day just like today that you have.
There's no conspiracy in play, trying to turn people into slaves. It's simpler than that: people take the path of least responsibility, and thus put the control of their lives into other people's hands. Why do so many people give up the best hours of the best days of their lives? Because it takes no thought. Everyone else gets a full time job, so why not?
AJ Kessler is an extremely talented guy with lots of great insights on art, business, philosophy, and life. He's an excellent photographer, and he was kind enough to write a post on creativity for us. I'm pleased to bring it you. Here's AJ -
"I'm just not a creative person."
I hear that all the time. It's complete bullshit.
If you've never created something, or done something you'd describe as creative, you may lack awareness or curiosity (two conditions which are easily fixed with minimal effort), but that doesn't mean you're not creative.
Anyone can be creative. Even kids are creative, and kids don't know anything. That's the secret though: they're creative because they don't know anything. They don't know how things work and they don't know what the outcome is supposed to be. So they ask questions, they try things, they experiment, they break things. If the end result looks good to them, they're done.