- October 30, 2019
- Leila Johnston
- Creativity, Motivation
- Comments Off on Why you should always back yourself
On the Hack Circus podcast, I’ve talked to a lot of people who are heavily committed to a cause, or ethos. Maybe they’ve dedicated their life to improv, art, hacking, community building, or conquering fear.
I think they’re fantastic, these people, and I love talking to them. But I sometimes wonder listeners might be daunted by the superhuman drive of such inspiring people. But look…
You don’t have to be like them.
By which I mean: you don’t have to emulate the specific life philosophies of people you hear about. Don’t make yourself get into community stuff if you’re more of a lone gunner; don’t push yourself into a more playful life if you’re already working in a highly playful way. Don’t look at their lives as literal models for your own, and don’t dismiss them if their world seems too far from your interests.
The people I interview all share something in common, I think:
They are all self-created.
My friend Ben is a very gifted and funny writer and performer. I met up with him this summer for the first time in years and years, and was pleased when he agreed to do an episode of the podcast. Give it a listen. It’s an entertaining chat and Ben shares many gems about his life as a performer, but one of my favourite moments is when I express (mild) surprise that he has often paid for his Edinburgh shows on his credit card. Ben says:
“Well, you’ve got to back yourself sometimes.”
You’ve got to back yourself! Of course! It’s like the final piece of the puzzle falling into place. When you’re trying to do very original things, as all creatives are, you must accept this as a fundamental fact. It’s an inescapable part of making something truly new.
Certainly to start with, but often for the entire time your work exists in the world, you are the only person who will care about it. If you believe in this work, and this life, you’re going to have to find a way to do it. Chances are, you will always care more about your work than anyone else. Don’t wait for other people or other situations to materialise; you, right now, are the best shot it’s got.
If you believe in what you’re building, defend it.
Think of a way you can put a bit extra behind something you’re working on, today. Can you invest a bit more time in it, afford to pay for something that will support it? What sacrifice can you make that you know will help it get a bit further into the world?