The choice every creative needs to make.
June 1, 2023
When working on a startup, film, track, or creative pursuits of all kinds, there are always two perspectives you can take. You can take the pessimistic perspective - seeing all the ways the thing you are pursuing might not work. Or you can take the optimistic perspective - seeing the way the thing can work. Every creative lives somewhere on the spectrum of these two. Some days, you feel optimistic and energised seeing all the ways you succeed. Other days, you are filled with self-doubt questioning your pursuits from the ground up. I have come to believe over the course of my journey of making things, that you should radically ignore the former perspective and focus all your energy on the latter. Let me explain.
The status quo for any creative pursuit is that it does not work yet. No one cares (yet). No success has been attained (yet). You yourself question what you are doing (still). After the initial excitement of getting started fades, you are deeply in the dip. This phase is inevitable and an obstacle every creative faces. During this time, it is easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt questioning the project, and yourself. The pessimistic perspective takes full control. When this dark force takes over, you start to overthink. You act less. You feel the fear of failure. You become stuck. Things are not fun and feel like a heavy burden. This is the point where most people quit. The amateurs who treat their creative pursuit as a hobby. The ones who don't quit are the professionals. The ones that treat their creative pursuit like real profession. Engaging in the practice, shipping their work. But luckily you have a choice: you can choose your perspective. And unfortunately, it is easier to choose the wrong one. The problem with the pessimistic perspective is that you reach a point of paralysis by analysis. You are not acting but just thinking ideas to death in your mind without any of them ever reaching the real world. And this is the worst that can happen to a creative: not shipping their work. Killing ideas in your mind before giving birth to them. Momentum is lost, the joy has faded, the magic is gone.
Yet, you have a choice. The choice of your perspective. The optimistic perspective sees the way through. It sees the way your crazy idea might work. The way people could start caring. The way this project could change everything if you are patient enough. With every setback, when you take the optimistic perspective new ways unveil themselves that make your work better, ultimately. Working while in this mindset is fun. You dare to explore, you dare to try. You dare to find ways that don't work and don't hesitate to try a different path when needed. You are building momentum, shipping your work, without hesitation. This is where breakthroughs are made. This is where the real work of a creative lays. Doing the work despite no one caring. Why? Because you are taking the optimistic perspective. Seeing the way through. Believing in yourself and your journey. And only focusing on shipping your work, building momentum, and seeing the way through.
The case I want to make is that you should exclusively focus on the optimistic perspective at all times and ignore everything else. The rest is a distraction. And you need to remain focused to get where you want to get. The mantra to follow is actions above thoughts. You will find out what does not work shortly. And the you need to adjust. And try again. Building momentum rooted in the possibility that things could work out. This is easier said than done. You will find the pessimistic perspective creeping up on you every step along the way. So it is your job as a creative to fight it, realise when you are in the wrong mindset, and then get back to work. You can attain the power of your thoughts. And you can make a choice. Choose the optimistic perspective every time.