Why You Need To Do Something Stupid (To Succeed As An Artist)
Too many of us stop before we get started. So we tend to believe it’s the starting that is the hardest part of, well, getting started. But it’s not. Not by a long shot.
There’s something else that holds you back from giving us your best work.
And at one point or another, we all must figure out how to overcome it or live the rest of our lives in mediocrity, obscurity, and, even regret.
If you never start we’ll never get to read, view, or listen to you, and that would be a shame.
So what can you do about it?
Do. Something. Stupid.
If you think about it a while, I know you’ll realize the truth. It’s not other people who hold you back, and although it might seem like it at times, it’s not your “circumstances” either.
The real culprit, what is in fact holding you back from creating your best work, is:
How? It’s those secret thoughts of yours doing it. The ones you don’t like to admit exist.
They are the self-deprecating thoughts that are so ingrained in your psyche that no matter how you rationalize to yourself that they are unjustified, you invariably succumb to the belief that they are true.
You know the thoughts I’m talking about.
Here are a few of the thoughts that have held me back (maybe you’re familiar with them):
I was stupid to think I could do it.
And even if I did it, “they” would think it’s stupid.
It was a stupid idea anyway.
Then I discovered the secret that set me free:
Anything worth doing always seems stupid at first. (Click to Tweet)
Let’s not allow our negative self-talk to sabotage our art and our chances at success. The real problem when we talk ourselves out of starting is that we put our ideas and ourselves down in order to avoid looking, and feeling, foolish.
We’re not always afraid of failure itself, we’re more afraid of the repercussions of failing and being considered an idiot for thinking we could get away with it.
You really thought you could create something that matters? Don’t be stupid, think again. Stop this foolishness. Be normal. Be average. Fit in.
We all think such thoughts, no matter how well we keep them hidden, they are there, taunting and ridiculing us.
Don’t be stupid.
So how do you overcome this unyielding tension between creating something meaningful and believing that it’s stupid?
In order to do something worthwhile you must become willing to go ahead and create anyway. You must ignore the idea that you need to be, and that others need to see you as, perfect.
And frankly, my friend, the reality is we’re not perfect. So let’s stop trying to be.
To create something that matters you’ve got to be willing to suffer the discomfort of criticism, biases, and outright unfairness.
But you also must be willing to accept praise, joy, and success.
It’s okay to do something that seems stupid, as long as you do it. Someone’s got to. It might as well be you.
A stupid idea about a book for writers:
I’ve never passed an English class in my life, I was kicked out of high school, and I was told by one of my English professors in college that I’d never be a writer. So writing a book about writing, well, that was a pretty stupid idea. Don’t you think?
Even a King, and a stupid idea about giving speeches:
King George VI of England had a crippling stammer and was absolutely terrified by the idea of speaking in public. He didn’t just believe he would sound stupid if he must address his nation, he knew it for a verifiable fact.
And yet, with the help of a gifted speech therapist, after 9 other speech experts had utterly failed (source), he not only overcame his speech impediment, his speeches during World War 2 are credited for uniting Britain. (His story was recounted in the Academy Award Winning Movie, “The King’s Speech.”)
Your stupidest idea could be your best idea, ever. Don’t underestimate it. (Click to Tweet)
So what’s really stopping you?
How about taking a chance and do something crazy, go ahead and acknowledge that your idea might be a stupid one. And, you know what? That’s okay.
Because anything worth doing doesn’t need anyone’s stamp of approval as a great idea, it just needs to be done to the best of your ability.
Go for it.
Make it your present to yourself this year.
But let me be honest with you about all of this―your ideas, ambitions, and dreams are important and we need you to strive to achieve them, because no matter how stupid they may seem to you right now, they’re really not stupid at all.
Are you ready to do something worth doing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.