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  • Writer's pictureJeff Lee

How to START ANYTHING, even when you are not ready?

We all want to feel good, and we all want to feel safe. And if we could, we’d probably all love to have as much fun as possible. The challenge is that, we rarely feel joyful and safe while taking up a new challenge or just doing something new... and most of the time, that feeling that we get, it's known as FEAR.

Are you consuming a lot of content and feel certain that you will start making ART when you are ready?

Sorry, we have to break it to you, you will never be ready... not when you are consuming without practicing the craft.

Sit down and reflect on your plans (especially that new year resolution), does any of the disabling/inaction statements below resonate with you? Stopping you from making art?

  1. I don't have enough _______

  2. Only if I have________, I will be able to________

  3. I'm afraid of ________

  4. I need to balance ________

  5. I have to ________ first, then __________

How many of them hit home? We are not dismissing the importance of these questions, but if it is stopping you from taking the first step, you need to understand the underlying reason.

PRESENT BIAS: Postponing your future reward

Present bias is a heuristic that affects a human's decision making process. During the process of decision making: we tend to overestimate the value of short term payoffs, but in the long run, we tend to underestimate the value of the outcome.

In short, there is always something "more important" in front of us that will give us an immediate "known" payoff, instead of that future "unknown" reward.

Present bias is wired for our survival, but we can change our decision making process just by being aware that it exists, by removing the elements of fear within.

How do I overcome Present Bias?

The easiest way is to break down projects into smaller chunks, as this will distribute the rewards across a longer period of time, feeding the present bias slowly but surely.

Of course, you have most probably heard it a godziliion times, but why aren't you practicing it already? What's stopping you?

The ancient brain is strong, it had kept us alive for the past 400'000 years, and it takes courage to overcome the inner voice that is still focusing on survival, although the human race have abundant resources and not threatened by predators anymore.

Here are some tips that can make you enjoy the process while feeling safe:

  1. Break down investments needed into smaller chunks (e.g. time & money)

  2. Join a weekend workshop/class of your choice to experience the craft before setting up your space at home.

  3. Allocate time & plan for crafting activities in advance.

  4. Allocate much more time than you think you need, so that you have time to learn and fail. Not enough time will cause frustration... (rule of thumb, double the time of that YouTube video's recommendation)

  5. Make arrangements for spouse and kids to have activities of their own, so that you are not interrupted.

  6. Start with small and satisfying projects.

  7. Invest in a cheap and "DIY version" first. Progressively work on the skills until the equipment can't serve you anymore.

  8. Update your mindset to focus on the journey, not the outcome. With persistence, you will get there one day.

  9. Know that videos and tutorials that you watched online are speeded up and not showing the failed part.

By the end of the day, you need to recognize your own fear (or excuse) and overcome it with smaller chunks. It'll help build confidence and overcome the present bias.

What if, you don't actually enjoy the craft?

Since you have started small, no worries, let move on to the next project!

Ultimately, fulfilment and joy is all happening in a human's mind, controlled by happy and stress chemicals. Knowing how to control how you would like to feel, controls your destiny.

Let's fly.

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