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I Don’t Want to Write This, But
I promised you a post a week, but I have nothing in the tank today, and frankly, am fighting a feeling of irritation. So today, I’ll share three things I do to stay disciplined.
What is discipline? It’s doing what you have to do when you don’t feel like doing it. It’s very easy to do what you have to do when you feel like doing it, but that’s not discipline, that’s passion, and if you had to choose, you’d take passion to be the force that drives your effort.
The first thing I think about is whether I made a promise or not. The price of shame is very high. Spending reputational capital hurts. So if you want carrot or stick, that’s your stick. It all depends on the perceived total cost. If it’s this newsletter, well I made a promise publicly to publish every week, and Tuesday is my publication day, so I will lose a bit of face if I don’t write this now, but frankly, nobody will give a shit except me, I know that. My circulation is low, if I dropped off the face of the planet tonight, very few people would even notice, just family and a few close friends. Fuck it, I can’t even convince enough of my limited social network, where I have spent a lot of my personal time to wishlist Floor 13: Deep State.
So here’s my sidetrack, and it’s what I got irritated about today. I did a an enormous amount for developers at great personal and potential reputational cost. Thankfully, the reputation more or less stayed intact, but most of those developers haven’t heard of this newsletter, let alone signed up for it, never mind wishlisted Floor 13. I mean, it’s not like I’m asking you to buy it, but man alive is it hard to rouse interest these days. So it’s one of three things.
I’m persona non grata, though I have no idea why. I think I’ll rule this out
They’ve seen the game (the YouTube video views would suggest not) and decided they hate it, and therefore haven’t wishlisted it or shared news on their feeds. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t even bother to look at a short trailer.
They don’t even know about this newsletter, or my tweets.
I’m convinced it’s the third, because I know these people, they are genuine, and if there was a way they could support what I was doing, I know they would. People are just busy trying to stay alive, and who can blame them? And besides, I’ve had a lot of support already, for which I’m massively grateful. So once my short burst of irritation subsided, I realised that this sidetrack was my procrastination at work, and so I got back to thinking about this post, and what other tactic I’d use other than the shame of breaking a small promise.
The second approach I use is a lot of caffeine, some power moves, some positive self-talk and a cold shower. You’d be amazed how often this works. It’s really, really effective. Just move your body, shore up the defences in your mind, remind yourself you’ve done this before, that you’re good at this, that you’re not just doing it for others, but for yourself, and then you just power through. This was the approach that saw me through the insane (self-inflicted) workload at PlayStation. But not recently.
Recently, there’s an approach I learned from Jim Connolly, a good friend and a fantastic marketing expert who is not only persuasive and cogent, but just a wonderfully empathetic human being. He taught me the killer move of discipline and self motivation and boiled down to its essence, it’s this:
Don’t think about the work you have to do. Think about how you’ll feel when it’s done.
And that’s it. The ultimate ninja secret to making yourself do what you have to do when you don’t feel like doing it. Look him up, read his stuff, and tell him I sent you.
Listen, you’re reading this probably because you subscribe. If you like my writing, please share it, you wouldn’t believe how much of a difference that makes to me.
By the way, now that I’ve written this post, I feel great and have confirmed in my own mind the belief that I’m the kind of person who gets things done, which will allow me to carry on doing things worth doing.