The Practice: Ship Creative Work

A new book by Seth Godin, click here to buy the book.

Some of the surprising ideas in the book include as below. Seth shared them. Since I am his biggest fan, I expanded on some of the ideas. Love you Seth.

  • Skill is not the same as talent.

Often you are told that you need to be talented to do some things in life. And one of the things is the creative endeavour. For example, dancing, writing, drawing and many such things.

And sure, some people will have the gift to get it easily or faster than others. But it doesn’t mean, those fields are for them alone.

You can jump into the pool too. And enjoy. Because more often than not, many things are skills. And once you realize that it is a skill then you can learn, improve and work on it.

For playing basketball, sure height is something which can be inherited from genes. So you can say that’s talent.

But you can still play basketball even if you are short in height, because playing basketball is a skill. And so is writing, drawing, playing music and a bunch of other things.

  • A good process can lead to good outcomes, but it doesn’t guarantee them.

When you put all your happiness on how the rainbow will look at the height of a mountain, you miss out on all the moments of happiness on the way. Often, when you reach the destination, you realize that the fun was and is in the journey.

As such, another way to look at it is that no matter what road you take the end isn’t guaranteed. And it’s the beauty of life.

But you shouldn’t get fearful to not take the good process. Because you see other people doing bad things, taking shortcuts and doing questionable things. And succeeding.

No matter the process, the end outcome isn’t guaranteed to be good. So, go for the good process regardless. Because that way, even if you don’t get good outcomes, you would have enjoyed all the things along the way. And that’s more the point.

  • Perfectionism has nothing to do with being perfect.

Being perfect is a bold statement and it is never true. In the sense that you can’t have anyone who is a perfect artist, human or anything. Rather what you can achieve is almost perfect.

Take writing a book for example, you will never look at your book – and say it’s perfect and you are ready.

The thing is you will never be ready.

So, the idea is to ship your product, art or anything. Hence, deadlines help a lot. When you have a deadline, you complete the work not because you are thrilled every moment to push. But because it’s deadline and you are supposed to deliver.

Of course, this isn’t something to excuse yourself from doing shabby work. Instead it’s the opposite. Push yourself so you see yourself almost there. And then no matter what, release on the deadline.

  • Reassurance is futile.

When someone is in fear, you can say a million things to reassure. But often it won’t do the trick.

Because when you are in fear, you open up your deep insecurities. At such time, you have to face them. And come at the other side of it. Same is the case when you lose someone you love.

No amount of advice would take you out of your grief. Contrary, you need to gried to come better at the other side

What you can do is give time and let them face it. And when things appear normal, you can help them about their feelings and give them a map. Because they should guide themselves to do better.

  • Attitudes are skills.

What is your attitude towards the work you do? It can be lazy, professional, fierce, focused or something else.

Attitude is often seen as something problematic. But when you do things professionally, your attitude is your skill. The way you work is something which your client will know you from.

Your attitude will bring trust in your game. Because that’s how you do certain things. And that’s your skill you bring along the work you do.

It’s not always what you do but how you do that sums up your whole package. Find your attitude by which you want your work to be known for.

  • There’s no such thing as writer’s block.

Writing is an amazing thing. When you speak, you do so without any filter. Because when you talk, you have your own lingo and people around you understand even if you don’t speak properly.

When you write down anything, then there is a filter – you want to sound readable so that it helps people who might not know able to read and understand it. As such, you need to write in at least simple english and good enough grammar.

So when you start writing initially, you might feel like there is a block in your mind. And you will feel like you can’t write. But that’s just you not being able to articulate your thoughts in english and write it down. The key is to read more things. And practice writing bad so eventually you become better. Because to become better at anything is to just keep doing those things.

And when you can write and make it a habit, many times you will feel like there is nothing which you can write.

As such, many writers fear the ‘blank page’. And many softwares have come which include a prompt so there is something for you to reply. And the blank page isn’t blank anymore.

But like anything in life, if you look deep within, you will realize that there is no block as such.

Sure, you might feel like writer’s block. But that’s just a fear about writing something not good.

Accept that, sometimes you will write gold and sometimes thrash. Then you will realize there is no such thing as writer’s block. You can write everyday like you can talk everyday. Just as you don’t get talkers block, you don’t have writers block.

  • Professionals produce with intent.

Being a professional means you show up even when you don’t want to. Artists are someone who does things when they feel like it.

But if you intend to get paid for your art then you have to be a professional. Which means, you have to decide what to do and what not to do, you pick up clients and reject some.

Above all, you create with an intent and do the work because there is a deadline. You don’t let lazy feelings get in the way.

  • Creativity is an act of leadership.

Being creative is often a personal thing. What it means to be creative is something different for everyone. But there is a base line, you get creative when you think of something others miss.

You find the missing obvious or find the exceptional connection. And then you share it with the world.

When you create something, you share it with the world. Here, I made this. By doing this, you are bending the culture, asking others to follow on your journey. And as such, it’s an act of leadership for the change you seek to make.

  • Leaders are imposters.

Imposter means you are not there yet, however you behave as if. And in many areas of life, you grow and deliver when you act as an imposter.

For example, if you want to become a stand up comedian, then act as if you are the best stand up ever. And then go on to make it fulfilling. Do as many open mics as possible, reach out and deliver the funny jokes. And slowly you will become the best one.

Being a leader has to always be the job of an imposter. Because you can’t be a great leader and then decide to lead.

You lead and then you find your tribe, mojo and groove. Want to lead, act as if.

  • All criticism is not the same.

Even the greatest books have received criticism on the book review site. And it seems odd. So clearly, there is some digging which you can do.

What’s going on here – the short answer is that there are many types of criticism.

Maybe the book you wrote is bought by the wrong reader. Who doesn’t want to read in your genre. She is angry and leaves a bad review.

Or you did a bad job and so you get criticism which is harsh and does not help.

Sometimes, your work is consumed by the intended party and they want to help you succeed. So, criticism is intended for you to grow and make better things.

Either you can ignore the criticism. Or take only those which helps you do better work. But often, finding those criticisms is a tricky part.

  • Good taste is a skill.

Growing up you can be the center of fashion for your friends. Your friends might struggle with what to wear on a daily basis. And you can make a fashion statement everyday.

And you might not see yourself as someone who can make a business out of this. Because it is easy for you.

However, when you dip yourself into the marketing, entrepreneur and real world, you realize that good taste is a skill.

And because it’s a skill, you can be good at it and become the best. And with that, you can leverage that to make a business out of it.

Before you dive into the world of what others are good at. And try to be better in a skill, look within yourself. You might have a good taste in something which you have been doing your whole life. So, look at that first. Your good taste is a skill, leverage that. 

And some of the things worth riffing on are:

  • Creative is a choice.

You can do the things you do in the job. Do as you are told and not be the one to lead or take risk.

Some people do stuff like that their whole life. And there is nothing wrong with it. Because creativity is a choice. However, if you feel the itch and can’t find yourself in a happy place, go and make that choice.

You may not have to leave your job. You can do creative things on the job or on the weekend.

  • Avoid certainty.

When you know how things will unfold, there is no mystery and no thrill. Try that different topic, feel like a beginner.

The true way to live life is to embrace uncertainty. Just remember to keep your calm when the things outside your control falter. You will not know for sure, how things are unfolding. But regardless, you try your best.

  • Pick yourself

You will fall, lose hope and find yourself in a dark place from time to time. That’s how life is. And as such, you will feel like it’s the end of the world.

Frankly, it’s just heightened emotion. If you sleep for some time and have food or have a walk in the park, you will find that it’s not that horrible.

Pick yourself in such times because most of the times others won’t come to help you. If they do, fine. Else, you are your own saviour.

  • Results are a by-product.

Do the things, risky, creative and something passionate not because you will get something in the end.

But rather because you want to do it for the sake of joy, fulfillment and your itch to do the thing.

Money, fame or success of any kind are by-products of the things you want to do. They might happen or not. But you can keep doing your creative projects forever when you don’t put the monetary pressure on them.

  • Postpone gratification.

When you complete a task, then it’s time to rejoice. Often when you are quick to rejoice, you will find that you have less control on your emotions.

The best way forward is to postpone gratification so that you have better control of yourself. And when bad things hit you, you let it sink too. And you don’t drown yourself in the pain. Often indifference is the one which makes you calm, the second best thing is to postpone feeling pleasure intentionally.

  • Understand genre.

Whatever work you intend to do, first confirm what’s the genre of the work. It should belong to a genre and there should be similar books on that genre.

Because if it isn’t then it would mean, either you are creating something for which there is no demand. Or you will have to convince people a lot. Not a good sign. When there is already a similar work out there, you can place yourself in a good position to start with.

  • Embrace generosity.

Being generous is the single best trait everyone should have. If you aren’t generous then what good anything will do.

Human connection is the thing which you crave for and that is the basis of everything you intend to do – be it bending the culture, leading and sharing your work. When you do all of this with a generous attitude, you win.

  • Dance with fear.

When there is rain, you can’t do anything but dance in the rain. Similarly, you will get fearful for various reasons.

You can’t shut down your fears but you can dance with it. Go along with it and deliver. The best example is public speaking. The fear you feel is real, it makes you pararlyze. Realize that, the fear is baseless and do the thing anyway with fear. Stammer, stop or fail but do it regardless. You will come out of it better and do better next time.

  • Learn new skills.

Your neurons get all fired up when you try something new. You are at discomfort, pain and thrill when you try something for the first time. So, go and make it a habit to learn something new every 6 months or once in a year.

Now, learning something doesn’t mean you have to become a master in something. Being good enough is alright.

Some of the skills which I can think off my mind are drawing, skiing, writing, coding, sports, advertising, copywriting, acting, stand up, doing poetry and many other things.

The joy, thrill and experience you will come out of learning new skills will make huge positive impacts in your life. Those will make you a better person, make you see new perspectives and feel more alive.

  • Create change.

What is your goal? Sure, doing things as a task is easy but the robots will soon take your job. It’s not something to fear. Rather it is an opportunity to make change.

In general, you should aspire to make change happen. Culture around is how you were raised. But that’s not perfect, and it is never meant to be.

You can make assertions, lead a team and voice for a change. That’s how you contribute to the world.

Sure, you are doing your job. And doing what the society calls a normal routine. But you have a chance like never before. Because of the internet revolution. And so, create something. It can be a perspective you want to share, knowledge you want to impart or make assertions about the future.

How do you plant to make a dent?

  • See the world as it is.

Often the pain, grief and tension comes into your life when you compare life with your imagination.

When you do so, you will be constantly upset. Because the world will never be like you have imagined. And it will never be the ideal world. There is no linear thing which you can predict about the world.

If predictability was a thing then you would be bored and probably rich by making bets.

The world will surprise you, you can act as if the world betrayed you. Or just accept the world for what it is. And still move forward. Because that’s the best thing possible anyway.

  • Get better clients.

Once you get content with a particular client type, then your work attitude, name and reviews will be according to that client type.

For example, if you seek cheap clients who don’t value quality work then you will be chasing for money, get bad reviews and be always busy. You will not grow your lifestyle. And there will be hardly any referrals.

Someone might have to do work for such clients. But it doesn’t have to be you.

  • Trust yourself.

You have to believe in yourself for you to do work that matters. When you show up and don’t trust in self, you stumble. And the work produced isn’t of the highest quality possible.

Before the other things come into play, your self-doubt can hinder where you want to go.

So, before others can trust you, follow you and join to make a ruckus. You have to trust yourself for things to go in motion.

Repeat.

Click here to buy Seth’s new book, The Practice

By Rohan Bhardwaj, find me at https://www.rohanbhardwaj.com
My best book is https://www.books2read.com/internet  (Inspired from and dedicated to Seth Godin)

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