This is the very first article I’ve published on here, and there’s a reason for that. At 9.37pm today, I gave myself a challenge:
Write an entire article in 1 hour.
I, like a tonne of other people, have a serious issue with perfectionist thinking. I procrastinate working on my goals, I put off taking that first step, because I obsess about whether or not I can do a perfect job of something… instead of just doing it. I look at the long road ahead of me, the amount of steps between where I am now and where I want to be, and I worry I’ll never get there. So instead of getting started, I end up doing nothing at all.
I’ve done this a tonne in the past. I wanted to do a 365 Photography Project (taking a photo every single day for 365 days in a row), but put it off for months because I was paranoid my photos weren’t quite good enough yet.
I put off going to the gym for years, instead opting to buy a home gym and muck around for a year, making no progress. I was worried I was too weak to step foot in the gym, worried I wouldn’t know how to do the exercises, worried I’d do a bad job. And then when I finally did go to the gym, I put off hiring a weightlifting coach for another year – again, because I was worried I’d do a bad job choosing a coach.
I put off talking to girls for seven months after finishing an “approach anxiety program” because I was terrified I’d do a poor job of literally just talking to other human beings.
I put off getting a tattoo for over a year, because I was terrified I’d never find the “perfect” design, or find the “perfect” tattoo artists.
I put off losing weight for ages before finally diving in, because I was obsessed with researching the “perfect” weight loss diet, researching the “perfect” gym program, figuring out which was the “perfect” calorie-counting app, etc… Spinning my wheels instead of, you know, actually losing weight.
Pretty much every big goal I’ve ever achieved was preluded by days/weeks/months of procrastination, because I was obsessing about perfection rather than just starting.
So how’d I stop the procrastination and end up achieving things?
By giving myself permission to suck.
With my photography, I just sat down one day, and said “Ok. Today is Day 1 of my 365 project. I’m going to be awful, my photos will suck for a while, but if I don’t start now I’ll never start.”
With girls, I told myself “I’m going to be awful at talking to girls. I’ll be nervous, anxious, I’ll probably throw up out of nervousness, I’ll forget what to say, I’ll stumble and lose my words, I’ll look like a complete creep and I’ll make a total fool of myself. No girls will like me and I’ll be a total failure. But that’s ok. I’m allowed to be shit at this, because everybody is shit when they’re first getting started.”
With the gym I told myself “I’ll be the weakest guy in here, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t know how to do the exercises, I might even injure myself, but all that is fine. I’m allowed to be awful at this, because everybody is at the start.” And the tattoo – today I went in and booked a session to finally get a tattoo done next week.
Even writing articles for this site. I’ve put off making my own site for ages (months and months, maybe even a year) because I wanted my first article to be perfect. I have hundreds of ideas for articles, guides, rants, etc… but every time I start typing, I get in my own way and worry “this won’t be good enough, you can’t release this, it’s not perfect.” I worry what I’ve written isn’t good enough, isn’t long enough, is too long, doesn’t have enough pictures, has too many pictures, isn’t concise enough, is too verbose, has too many spelling errors, etc. I worry about what “direction” this site should have, what “voice” I should give my writing, what topics I should cover, how in-depth my guides should be, etc.
I had to set a goal of writing 10 articles in 1 month, otherwise I’d never start. (This is the first article). And I’ve had to tell myself “It’s ok if this isn’t your best work. It’s ok if you could have done better. Just start writing, start posting, and you’ll improve over time.”
It’s funny, because I can easily give that advice to other people. I tell mates who’ve just started hitting on girls, ‘It doesn’t matter how terrible you are at this – it’s ok to be awful. Just start doing it.” I’ve told people who start taking photos for their Tinder profiles, “You’ll be AWFUL at this at first. That’s ok. Just take hundreds, thousands of photos and you’ll eventually take some good ones.”
But like most people, I give great advice to others, but often don’t take the advice myself…
I’m sitting here right now re-reading this article, thinking of 50 things I should add to it, 20 ways I can improve it, all the paragraphs I should cut out and all the ways I should rewrite them. But fuck it. I’m giving myself permission to suck. I’m hitting Publish.
The time is now:
So I succeeded. I wrote this article in (much) less than an hour. If it sucks, I don’t care.
At least now I’ve finally gotten started.
UPDATE 2021: Here’s a follow-up to this article:
Found the article itself instead of the Reddit post. This is a favorite of mine for linking, I’m going to bookmark it this time.
Just came here from TRP. Your transformation story on your front page is incredibly inspiring! I’m hoping to learn as much as I can from your blog!
Awesome mate, cheers for the comment(s).
Just found your site from the GLL forums, great stuff man, some super useful nuts-and-bolts type stuff like your stuff on Tinder. Thanks for sharing.
nice this article actually helps alot
Fuck to the yes! So glad you started this site. Your transformation(s) from the Debbie downer never leave the house-r, to Mr walking talking confident badass is a helluva motivating journey! Looking forward to seeing what you make out of life!
Thanks. You just gave me an idea for another article (I’ll credit you when I write it).
Damn I can relate to this SO much. I was reading about pick up for YEARS before I actually started hitting on girls a few months ago. I was always trying to find that new book or website that would have all the solutions to my problems, always looking for that perfect pick up line, I wanted to be player from the start. Not the way it works.
Looking forward to read what you have to say man.
Mate this article isn’t total shit. You’re not starting from a bad place.
I used to write for a site with respectable traffic. What I would do is write articles like you did here, and then not re-read it for 3-4 days. Then I would come back to it and I would have fresh eyes to do editing. Re-reading your stuff especially right after writing it can mess you up. As you’re thoughts are like the ones you wrote about “I should cut this out. This is bad” When maybe it isn’t
Wish the best for your site.
Smart thinking. I’ve basically been doing the same thing – I’ve got 20 articles already mostly completed, and I’m just letting them sit on my drafts folder and slowly adding to them whenever I think of extra stuff.
You’re right that when you’re right in the middle of writing, it’s hard to “see the forest for the trees”.
I found out about you at gll. I like the style how you write.
I just have a question. you mentioned once in the gll forum that you work from home making money online if I remember correctly. could you elaborate a little bit on that. what do you do for a living ?
greetings from Germany
I was/still am working for a company very similar to this one (but not this exact one):
Essentially people ask any questions about any topic, we research the answer and send it back to them.
However, I don’t make much money from it any more (it’s dried up over the last few months), so I’m going to grab a second job. Probably something easy like a sales job.
This article is dogshit, a peace of garbage, you literally just wrote the first thing that came to you mind.
But finally did it.
Now it comes the hardest part that is keep committed with it.
I have little to no trouble starting something, but keep being CONSISTENT with it is really fucking hard.
Thanks mate. You’re the reason I started this site, after all. (I’ll write an article about you at some point giving you a proper thankyou)
It’s a very good job.
I experiment the contrary, I have little to no trouble starting something, what I struggle is to be CONSISTENT with my goals.
Keep doing the good things/habbits is harder than starting something new to me.
I find commitment easy once I get started. One thing that helps with habits is doing something like the “1 approach a day” thing I did, or the “1 photo a day”. Making the habit so simple you’ll never pussy out on it.
Echoing Andy here.
Go read ‘Atomic Habits,’ by James Clear, the author does a real great job of breaking down the HOW-TO of making and keeping simple habits.
It IS fundamentally “Making the habit so simple you’ll never pussy out on it,” but the book has a ton of strategies on how to do this, plus you can kinda use it like brain-washing yourself to believe that these tiny little daily actions will ACTUALLY generate the life you want to live.
It’s $15 on audible and even less for a paperback or kindle version.
The Slight Edge, and Mini Habits, are two books which expand on this idea too.
Great article, above average>perfect. Anything you do in the beginning is above average because you got ahead of 99% of people who didn’t even get started. The article sucks btw
I’d even go one step further and say you don’t even have to be above average – you can be totally dogshit. (As long as you keep at it, with the goal of improving over time). My first 50 or so approaches were so horrific it was comical (I was shaking, stuttering, sometimes lost my voice) but I improved over time. When I started in the gym I could barely do a single pushup. My first 200 or so photos were out of focus, underexposed, etc. You get the point.
Good point. Got it
Gotta be dogshit! (But NOW)
Let’s go ma man!