By Dean Yeong
The more I write, the harder it gets.
We all set the previous highest achievement as the lowest standard we should stumble across ever again. We all want to get better. So do I.
Therefore, it gets harder for me to write because I want to write something better than everything I have written before. I was scratching my head and digging deep into my mind to come up with some ground-breaking article ideas. And then, spend another day or two to do all the research required in order to pack pieces into something people would think WOW! after reading it.
The truth is, this behavior pattern got me nowhere. I wrote a few words and then deleted all of them. And then I repeat it again. We all do this, to a point where we ask ourselves, “why am I doing this?”
We all run out of hope sometimes.
Breaking The Pattern
The first step to moving forward is by breaking the current mental pattern. Erase the invisible scripts in your head and approach your work with a fresh mind. Here are a few examples of my invisible scripts.
A great article should have at least 1,200 words and above, and the more words the better. No, most posts by Seth Godin are less than 500 words. Some of them are even less than a hundred words. It’s the meaning of those sentences that counts.
People who read my article are laughing at me because my English is not perfect. No one really cares if your content is great, and it has certainly improve compared to your first article. And so what if others are laughing at you?
If this article doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help anyone else. Okay, you just need to stop being self-centered. Everyone has different needs.
It is never easy to break free from any mental pattern. However, here are two steps you can take:
- Become aware of the pattern. The first step is to pay close attention. Figure out how you usually think and how you usually act. Without acknowledging it, you can’t change it.
- Implement physical changes. Start from breaking some other patterns – take a different route to work, try a new diet, read books you never consider to read. By changing your physical patterns, you are slowly changing your mental patterns.
Thoughts Are Just Suggestions
We process 60,000 thoughts on average, daily. It’s insane. Clearly, we don’t control our mind for what to think and what not to think.
Your mind is an overworked auto-suggestion machine.
Your mind is not you. And those suggestions are not orders. They are merely suggestions. You don’t need to obey them. While fighting against the odds in life is just like swimming upstream against the flow of a river, giving up is just a suggestion your mind thoughts about – a lot.
- Stop painting because you’re not talented.
- Quit your startup because there is no way for you to succeed.
- Stop writing because blogging is not going to make you any income.
- Skip the workout today, it doesn’t matter.
We tend to attach our emotions deeply with these suggestions. And then we start to create stories around them to prove they are the only truths.
But at the same time, your mind is suggesting you do something else too – to keep going, to get shit done, to stick with your goals.
You see? All of them are suggestions, not orders. It’s your choice to decide which one to obey.
Perfectionism and Self-Judgment
Perfectionism is the number one killer of creativity. It’s not the cause of bad work, it’s the cause of no work. It delays our shipping date, it makes us procrastinate, it talks ourselves out of what we want to do.
Then comes self-judgment. We see ourselves and everything else from our own perspectives and worldview. Then we are judging our own work based on a self-centered standard we set for ourselves.
Perfectionism + Self-judgment = Death of Hope
Your job is not to judge your own work. Instead, your job is to ship the best work you can do at the present moment. And let’s whoever that is for – readers, audience, clients, customers – to judge it.
Ask for feedback, and do it better again.
Dean Yeong writes on DeanYeong.com, where he shares research-based ideas on the topics of behavioral psychology and performance improvement for creatives and entrepreneurs. Join his popular weekly newsletter to receive more tips to make better decisions, cultivate lasting habits, and live a healthier life.