Wah, Wah, Wah. Someone’s Better Than Me.

Is there someone out there who is better than you at a certain thing? Does it bother you?

Well, answer me this.

I know for a fact there’s someone out there who could take you in a fight.

Why hasn’t it stopped you walking around?

Welcome to being alive. With 7 billion choices, yes, there just might be someone out there “better” than you in some category.

It’s your turn right now. You can be best at dealing with that.

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Change For The Change-Resistant

I was on a train once and it went past a piece of graffiti.

It said, “Routine is the enemy of creativity.”

I thought, “That sounds great and true. I must endeavour to take it on board.”

Then I got off the train and went and did my stand-up routine.

I’m just not having a wall tell me what to do.

But seriously… If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, it’s all very well people (and walls) advising you to make a change, but the rut always comes at a time when you’re feeling least energetic and adventurous.

The low-energy quick fix for me is to change the inputs. Maybe listen to some music or spoken word you haven’t heard in ages, reconnect with who you were when you first loved it.

I prefer audio, because it puts pictures in your head. Just that little bit of work from your mind can get things going. There are some great podcasts out there, ask someone who knows you for a recommendation.

Other than that, take the pressure off, be nice to yourself and ride it out. Sorry to state the obvious, but you can’t plan spontaneity.

Lastly, if you’ve made a commitment to publish every day, the rut is just something you ride over.

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Kill It!

When I was in my 20s, on a health kick, I tried running. It hurt. I tried again a few years later. It hurt again. But somehow I took it seriously and did what I could, a little bit every day.

A few (!) years on, I’m really into it. Just like I don’t need to get motivated to prepare a meal every day, I don’t need to get motivated to go running every day. If I miss it, it’s like I’m robbing myself.

It took a bit of commitment early on (when it hurt) to get this point. The key was getting out there. One foot in front of the other. I try to remember my history with running when embarking on new things.

Some days I look at a blank page and feel like not writing. Even though I know most of the things I’m proud of resulted in me slaying a blank page.

If you’re out there feeling it too, the best book I read on the subject was The War Of Art, by Steven Pressfield. In the book he calls the self-sabotage instinct “resistance”. It helps to give your enemy a name. It helps to know your enemy (“the enemy is a great teacher”).

As soon as we know we’re up against this ferocious, tenacious enemy that takes many forms (tons of really sound, logical reasons not to create, not to take a leap), we’ve got a fighting chance. I found the book useful for those hard times.

I’m trying to minimise the advice-y stuff, because I know you’re out there, on the brink of a breakthrough, and with the best will in the world, some well-meaning advice might just throw you off course!

Where your breakthrough lies, it’s not on any of the charts. Let it rip, whatever works, but I reckon it starts with getting out there, maybe for a little jog.

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I Know You Have Something To Say

I was talking to a nursery school teacher once. She said that when you see little kids playing, one of the the first things you hear them say is, “That’s not fair!”

If you’re reading this and you’re 12, tell me you’re not a little confused about how adults carry on and how they tell you to carry on. If you’re 30+ and you’ve had a lifetime of bosses, tell me you don’t have any feelings on co-operation versus coercion.

Those negative comments on YouTube are a creative act*, compared to just consuming. In fact, some people are at their most artistic when they’re running things down, and that’s a shame.

We’ve got no shortage of opinions, thoughts and feelings on a wide range of topics.

There is a shortage of people who can turn those thoughts and feelings into something useful to the rest of us who live outside the thinker’s head.

You’re an expert when it comes to your own experience of life. Paint us a picture, write us a story, yes, even do us a drum solo. Let’s hear it.

*Maybe the answer to not liking things is not trolling. Maybe it’s to build a more pleasing thing. Build a better YouTube channel, write a better joke. You’re already in front of the computer!

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Mmm. Apple Pie.

There’s a line from a book that keeps bubbling up in my head since I read it (a few years ago now).

It’s from Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold. Carter, a magician, is being grilled by an investigator, who is trying to throw him off balance by talking about two other magicians that he’d seen doing a similar rope trick to Carter’s. Carter responds:

“There are few illusions that are truly original, it’s a matter of presentation… In other words, I didn’t invent sugar or flour, but I bake a mean apple pie.

Happy baking!

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