Put Your Blinders on and do the Work
In a world obsessed with stats and results, it’s easy to get caught up in the wrong thing.
Though it’s worthwhile to evaluate results periodically, a fixation on outcomes can be unhealthy, and even detrimental to your progress as a creative or creator. Because process is the part you can control, outcomes are not.
Therefore, filters are crucial to your survival. Without them, you will take on too much, burn out, and get caught up in an unhealthy game of comparison that steals your happiness.
We need to be able to put our blinders on, even if it’s only for a short duration, to focus long enough on the process that we see desired results flow in.
Every “Overnight Success” Was 10 Years in the Making
I find it easy to fixate on the results, even unprompted. Even when there’s virtually no reason to.
I needlessly check in on my Medium stats, even on days where I know I’m not going to get any love… all I can expect are a couple of claps.
It’s not always like that. I have stories that have done well. Stories that continue to captivate and engage.
But this is perhaps one of the dark sides of publishing daily… That every day you publish, you almost expect your next big break to happen… When it has literally never worked that way.
The Beatles weren’t an overnight success. It took them 10 years. Some things take even longer than that.
The Six-Month Window
Lately I’ve run into many proponents of the “stick to it for six months” crowd. Their opinion appears to be that success only takes six months.
Which has me looking at myself and wondering if I have done something wrong.
There are some things I have been doing for 10 or 20+ years that I can honestly say I haven’t really seen the ship come in on.
Of course, you will see some results in six months. But will they be the results you’ve been hoping for?
So far as Medium is concerned, I have been publishing for over 230 consecutive days. That’s over six months already. I have not achieved “success.”
I guess that means I should stop writing and try something else right? RIGHT?!
A Breakthrough for Everyone
The the “six months” idea isn’t going to resonate with anyone who’s given it their best and haven’t yielded the expected results.
There’s a breakthrough available to everyone. But it might not come in the expected form. And that’s where some sensitivity is required.
The universe will sometimes make that subtle, quiet call towards an endeavor where you would do well. But you’re not going to notice if you stubbornly insist on your own way. Because it will probably mean adjusting.
Put Your Blinders on
So, is it worth worrying about the results?
Should you be checking in with your stats all the time?
Should you put a hard, six-month deadline on success?
Maybe it works for some, but I can’t recall anything I’ve done that gave me a huge ROI in six months.
Instead, put your blinders on and do the work.
You’ll want to make sure you have rails for the project, of course. You could end up resenting anything you keep grinding out, without any sense of when to stop, evaluate, and course correct.
But within those rails, only come up for air, as necessary.
The temporary discouragement you allow yourself to feel could hold you back from your eventual success. It’s a distraction.
It could have you doubting yourself and your project constantly, and that can’t possibly add value to you or your project.
Comparison is unhelpful, since it puts the spotlight on someone you don’t know, whose results you haven’t verified, and who may have put more work and effort into their project than you’ll ever know.
And most importantly, it steals your happiness, which is worth protecting.
The only score to beat is your own, and even there, you must practice accurate thinking.The only score to beat is your own, and even there, you must practice accurate thinking. Click To Tweet
Accurate thinking is not based on emotions or feelings. It’s based on quantifiable data.
Go hard within established rails. Then look up and see whether you’re further ahead than where you started. If yes, go to next square. If not, consider whether you want to continue. Yes, then keep going. No, then start playing a new game!
A Beginner’s Mentality
I seek to disappear any notion that I’m seasoned or experienced. At the very least, I don’t see it as an unfair advantage, because if it were, I would have figured out this “six-month” thing by now. Maybe I’d be able to do it in three months!
A beginner’s mentality is fresh. It’s open to learning. It remains curios. It doesn’t lose focus or interest.
Every day, we can start with a beginner’s mentality, or focus on a thousand yesterdays where we didn’t see the ship come in. We can maintain excitement for what we’re doing or make a meaning of our failures.
Although it’s good to acknowledge the ships that didn’t come to pick you up, focusing on them long-term is sure to be detrimental. You’ll just keep waiting at the docks and prove yourself right, even as ships come and go!
On the journey to success, you don’t want to keep proving that things don’t work for you. You want to begin finding proof that you’re going to make it. And you want to do this daily.
In saying all this, I’m mostly preaching to myself.
I’m looking to get those blinders in place instead of evaluating my progress day to day, or moment by moment. There isn’t much positive that can come from being a dopamine junkie.
I could do a better job of setting rails, and to that extent, I am letting my self-esteem lead the way. And I find this helpful.
Do you feel you get caught up in the wrong things?
What are some things you could take your eyes off of to be more effective?
Let me know.