“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.”
Fuck this statement.
The quote above has left me more frustrated than an Amish electrician, and I’d wager you’re in the same boat. When we embark on a new endeavour or start a new hobby, it’s easy to get caught up in perfectionist thinking. Our first thought is to do as much research about the topic as we possibly can. We dive into Youtube videos, read books, skim through 500 articles, and spend days/weeks/months becoming an “expert” on a topic. We write out a plan of action and rewrite it multiple times, trying to get it perfect.
The problem is all that planning and reading and learning doesn’t make you an expert. You’re not a piano player until you’ve actually played a few songs. You’re not a photographer until you’ve taken some decent photos. You’re not a writer til you’ve written, you’re not an artist til you’ve painted, you’re not a guy who gets laid until you’ve put your penis inside some vaginas. Research & talking about theories doesn’t count for jack shit – it’s just mental masturbation.
The solution? Take a deep breath and dive head-first into the deep end. Just get started. Now.
I wasn’t a photographer until I started Day 1 of my photo-a-day challenge. I wasn’t a writer til I published my first article. I wasn’t a coach til I had my first client. I wasn’t a guy who gets laid until I – you guessed it – started getting laid.
Once you get started with a new project, don’t worry about being efficient or implementing the best plan or cutting down on wasted time. The only thing you should focus on is going balls-to-the-wall; give it everything you’ve got. Trust that as you start to gain experience, you’ll naturally figure out what you can do better, what you’ve been doing wrong, etc.
The best way to learn is by doing.
If your goal is to get laid, then go out and talk to thousands of girls. Don’t worry about what to say; just get in there and try a bunch of different things and see what works for you. Figure it out as you go along.
If you’re trying to improve your Tinder photos, go out and take a tonne of photos. Most of them will suck, half of them will be out of focus, but you’ll get lucky and end up with a few solid ones. Do it enough times, and you’ll end up with some truly awesome snaps.
If you’re a content creator (writer, artist, etc) focus solely on making tonnes of content; you need to make the act of doing a habit. Don’t worry about quality at first; focus on quantity.
Sure, you’ll release a lot of content you’re not happy with, but you’ll also (seemingly by accident) release a few gems you really love. Over the course of months or years, you’ll build up a pretty solid portfolio. After you’ve knocked out a year’s worth of content, you’ll have a handful of great pieces to show off, & the not-so-good stuff you released will fade into the background.
Contrast that with obsessing about quality: you’ll get stuck in “analysis paralysis”, where you spend so much time obsessing about being perfect that nothing you do is ever good enough. You’ll release almost no content, you’ll talk to only a handful of girls, you’ll go to the gym only a couple of times; all because you were terrified of the possibility your output might suck at the start.
Newsflash: Of course you’ll fucking suck at the start. Who the hell is ever good at something from the moment they start it? That’s so incredibly rare we have a word for those people: savants. You’re not a savant, so drop the ego, accept the fact you’re going to suck at almost every new endeavour you embark upon, and start taking action now.
I took my own advice – I set myself a challenge to do 5 articles in 24 hours. Some badly-timed life stuff got in the way, so it actually ended up being 5 articles in about 10 hours. I wrote:
- Eventually You’ll End Up Settling Down
- You Should be Better than Your Idols
- Assorted Tidbits from My Dating Life
- Honesty is Always the Best Policy
- Pump Out a Tonne of Content (and Some of it Will be Gold) [The article you’re reading now]
Nobody would claim those are my 5 best articles. But I’m in a much better position for having published them.
- For one, I’ve shown myself what’s possible: 5 articles in 10 hours isn’t really that hard. Certainly something I could easily do again.
- I’ve kicked myself out of a rut I’ve been in for the last few weeks, where I didn’t publish a whole lot. These 5 articles bring my average rate of posting back up to something I’m happy with; since starting this site 250 days ago, I’ve released an article every 4 days.
- I’ve realised I should be writing for 8 hours a day, instead of the 1-2 hours I’ve been doing.
- I’ve practiced my craft; writing these 5 articles has been time spent improving, practicing finding my “voice”. They gave me room to experiment with different writing formats and time constraints, etc. The best way to improve at something is to do it a tonne of times.
- And the obvious: I have 5 more articles to my name than I did yesterday. That’s a win in itself.
Struggling to get started with one of your own projects, because “analysis paralysis” is kicking your ass? Drop a comment below and tell us about it; I’ll give you a hand.