Everyone wants the secret sauce. The recipe. The blue prints. The perfect still life of attitude, growth hacks, content, branding, and productivity apps that promise to launch their career into outer space.
Enough metaphors for you?
We have so many because everyone keeps talking about success. Even though we have no idea what it looks, feels, or tastes like.
Half the time, we don’t even know when we’re successful. We need other people to tell us.
Recently I wrote that success doesn’t feel like an orgasm. But you have to approach them both the same way.
By not caring so much. By letting go a little. Or even completely.
About a year ago, I had my first orgasm with a partner. How did that happen? Because I finally stopped caring if it would happen.
So, you have to stop caring if you fail or succeed. It’s a weird paradox. How do you even reach that state?
Understand what it feels like to stop caring.
People tell themselves they don’t care all the time. They’ll tell you something doesn’t matter. But how do you know they’re telling the truth?
If they tell you something doesn’t matter, and then they do it anyway — that’s how. They do it calmly. They do it out of joy. Or a sense of purpose. They don’t give up, simply because they can’t imagine their lives without that thing they love, regardless of how much money it makes them.
Not caring so much should bring a sense of liberation. Of empowerment. Not anxiety or apathy.
Giving up isn’t the answer. Letting go is. You still have to care about what you’re doing. Just not the aftermath. Care about what lies right in front of you. If you don’t, then do something else. Find something you care about. Let go of the results. If you find meaning in what you’re doing, it really shouldn’t matter what happens after the fact.
Stop setting so many goals.
You have one job. No matter what profession, everything comes down to a single, key objective. Make something that matters. It has to matter to you first. Then it has to matter to someone else.
It’s really that simple.
How do you find out what people like? Also, simple. Look at examples. Research your market. Explore your niche. This shouldn’t be hard. It should feel interesting and fun.
Slow down and take your time.
Deadlines matter. Sometimes you have to impose them on yourself. But you also need to take deliberate, decisive steps. You have to let yourself sit and think about something for a while. Even days.
People who care too much about success and failure make rash decisions. They don’t give themselves the space to let ideas brew.
They flounder. And they drown.
Let your grandiose plans and brilliant ideas sit with you for a while before rushing into them. It’s okay to tread.
Figure out what you really want to do.
So many aspiring whatevers try to jump straight into their marketing plans. Hold up a sec. Nobody will give a courtesy flush about your product if you’re not excited about it.
Not pretend excitement. The quiet, internal kind. The kind you can keep to yourself for a spell.
You have to enjoy what you’re doing.
Failing is a lot easier if you kind of enjoyed the process. Imagine an athlete who loses a championship, but still plays their best game. Or breaks a personal record. Do you think they feel that bad? Probably not.
Lose yourself in the moment, over and over.
Anyone who stresses over stats and sales is wasting their time. Worry consumes huge amounts of creative energy. No single piece of content is going to make your career. At least, probably not.
You’ll experience hundreds of little successes. You’ll feel like a failure when you’re not. And vice versa. Our egos are always playing tricks on us.
You might never experience the one, big success that someone else did. You might spend an entire career in someone else’s supposed shadow, if you let that happen.
So many things don’t matter. Decide what does, and focus on those. Don’t chain yourself to a job, art, hustle, or hobby just because you want to reach some arbitrary goal. Besides, you probably don’t want to know what’s really in that secret sauce.