Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature.
Creating has many faces and layers. There are a lot of people nowadays that can be classified as “Creators”. From writers and scientific researchers to music producers and YouTubers, if one thing is flourishing in the 21st century, it’s the free spirit.
But what does it take to be a creator? What are the personality traits that allow someone to emerge victorious from this amazing yet extremely competitive world?
What is success?
First of all, ask yourself what success means to you. One of the most serious mistakes people make oftentimes is that they confuse success with monetary rewards. However, the most important thing when being a creator of any kind, is that you must always feel proud of your content. This is the only thing that will fulfill you on an emotional level.
Purpose and self-accomplishment are of crucial significance for any human being. A lot of people struggle to find these in their daily lives. Creators, however, constitute an exception to this. The feeling and the satisfaction you get when you produce something you are proud of are invaluable. Moreover, when your content is met with applause from the people that come across it, this is when you know that it was worth the time and effort that you put into it.
So, before blindly chasing money, ask yourself what you really want from this experience.
An important aspect of a creator’s personality is courage. The courage to put yourself out there for the world to see. Every creator remembers the first time that they uploaded their content online and the rush they had waiting for someone to find it and respond.
For some people, this step comes naturally. For others, not so much. In fact, I know a lot of people who are afraid to show their work on the internet because they don’t think that they can handle criticism. This is a fear that every creator has to overcome at some point.
Instead of being afraid, you should embrace criticism, whether good or bad, because it is the only way towards improvement. When someone critiques your work and points out certain things that he/she found unattractive, instead of getting upset, pay attention to the criticism and use it to raise the quality of your content.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
I have talked about this topic in another one of my articles but I will do it again since it is a heavily misunderstood concept.
Discipline is not workaholism.
First of all, having self-discipline will benefit you in all aspects of your life whether you are a creator or not. What you need to understand, however, is that you do not need to work all day in order to be successful at something. At the end of the day, if you give up all other aspects of your life — social life, hobbies, relationships, etc — how happy will you be when all is set and done?
No, this is not the right way. What you should be doing is make a plan and allocate your time efficiently.
Suppose that you are an undergraduate student and you have recently begun creating music videos and uploading them on youtube. Moreover, let’s say that one day you finish college at 4 pm and you have plans with friends at 9 pm. Well, instead of watching Netflix and playing games all day you could use the time in between and get busy with your musical ideas until the time you go out. Make sure that you give 110% of your concentration during that time and avoid any potential distractions.
You have to make some sacrifices in order to be good at something. The good thing is that you can choose the things you sacrifice. Personally, instead of giving up on social life and hobbies, I choose to give up some of my personal rest time — Netflix, youtube, etc — to pursue my passion for engineering and I think this is objectively the best option.
Perseverance and Consistency
Noone made it on their first try. Everyone nowadays knows guys like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos but what not all people realize is the tremendous effort that is hiding behind their success. These men had dedicated thousands of hours of their personal time to their projects before anyone knew their name. And let me tell you, a lot of their initial ideas failed. The same goes for creators.
Don’t expect to establish yourself as one of the big names of your respective industry in a month.
Rome was not built in a day. Whether you are a writer, a musician, or anything else, keep on grinding no matter how many times you fail.
One other essential virtue that goes hand to hand with perseverance is consistency. Whether you are already on the top or you are just making your first baby steps, being consistent is an attitude you must adopt.
For once, this will help you build a solid and loyal audience. When someone sees that you are always there, that you dedicate your valuable time and effort for their entertainment then it is much more probable that he will continue to support you than say if you uploaded once per month.
I have given this example before but I reckon that it is worth illustrating it again. Let’s say that you want to run a marathon a year from today and you decide to start training for the event.
What do you think would be a better approach? Training five times a week one and a half hours every time or training one time a week eight hours consecutively?
Obviously, the first plan is superior. What this goes to show is that you have to be consistent if you want to get good at something. No matter how many hours you work one single day, it will not make up for the fact that you didn’t work the rest.
Patience is a virtue, isn’t that what they say? Well, guess what, they are actually correct. You have to be patient so as to see your audience grow and your hard work recognized.
A lot of creators fall into this trap. They expect that their views/followers will skyrocket the moment they upload a piece that they are proud of. The harsh reality is that you never know which content of yours will blow up. Some things that you are really proud of could very well end up getting little to no attention while others that you have discarded as “mediocre” could become viral.
This is why you should practice patience. Once you free yourself from the chains of “quick results” you will be able to see the bigger picture. If your content is of high quality then success is certain. What it’s not certain, however, is the amount of time it will take you to get there. This depends on a lot of factors but luck surely plays its role. But as you keep on grinding and trying again and again your dependence on pure luck begins to shrink.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Being a creator of any kind can be very rewarding on an emotional level but there are certain dangers lurking in the fog of uncertainty.
What if I am not good? What if people critique my word? What if I get no views?
These are some of the questions that everyone is thinking about at the start. You should learn to overcome these irrational fears — because this is what they are, irrational — and brace yourself for everything that is to come. Be courageous and put yourself out there for everyone to see, be ready to accept criticism and failure but don’t let that deter you from keep on trying again and again. Be consistent and practice patience and great things are on your way.
This post was previously published on medium.com.