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Discipline in Service of Creativity

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I have always been an 'all-in' type of person.


Attributing my ability to have a monomaniacal focus a superpower...

... but it has, at times, has come with a significant cost.


Follow obsession is the only way, I believe, to become elite in any arena... and as we know when you say 'yes' to something, you're also saying 'no' to everything else.


'Yes' comes with an opportunity cost...

'Yes' comes with removal of choice...

'Yes' can single-handedly remove the opportunity for success...


Here's what I've learned about myself.


Growth is not something that happens overnight...

... instead it is small actions, repeated daily, that lead to geometric results.


Hundreds of thousands of hours dedicated to your craft before anyone knows your name... and even then, hundreds of thousands more until you're great.


"Without discipline, you'll never start...
... but without consistency, you'll never finish."

- Denzel Washington


I've seen time and again people replace the creative process for spontaneity...

... yet it's the regimented whom produce the greatest works of art.


In Atomic Habits by James Clear, he discusses a story about a college-level photography class in which the professor split the class in to two groups.


Group A - Only needed to submit one photograph for the entire semester.

Group B - Needed to submit one photograph per day for the entire semester.


Which group produced the higher quality photograph?


Group B.. Why?


The second group honed their skills over the course of the semester through repetition... something the first group didn't need to have the discipline.


I read this story years ago and became curious around my own creative process.

... and while it wasn't photography, instead business, everything was related.


Once I realized what I was optimizing for was time spent in flow...

... where creativity flow through - I became aware we had it all wrong.


Creativity isn't a calling... it's an action - fueled by discipline.


Just as a river without banks ceases to flow...

... so does your imagination without routine.


If you're struggling to 'tap back in' consider revisiting the routine you had when you were dialed in - begin to track the conditions that bring you to the state you desire.


Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last was interviewed on The Tim Ferriss Show (#361) and he spoke about how he tracks his creative hours.


In the same vein, I adopted his 1,000 revolving creative hours approach and created a tracker to identify when and where I was thriving... and why.

*You can get it for free here.


Once I became aware of the conditions that led to my personal productivity, it was game over - and anytime I found myself slipping I knew exactly why.


It's a challenge, yes... and the motivation will not always be there - but if you can find discipline in service of creativity you can write your own ticket.


Happy Saturday!

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