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What You Put Out

“Calling yourself creative doesn’t make it true. All that matters is what you’ve launched. Make finishing your top priority… When you’re gone, your work shows who you were. Not your intentions. Not what you took in. Only what you put out.” — Derek Sivers, How to Live

“When you ship, you silence the lizard brain. You beat the resistance and your ideas get out in the world. It’s not easy, but it’s very important. I am shipping because I don’t want to create art for art’s sake; I want to do work that matters, that makes a difference in people’s lives. Not tomorrow, today.” — Seth Godin, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

Anyone who does anything creative knows the scorecard. What you intend to do has no place at the table: The only thing that matters is what you produce. If you don’t put it out there you aren’t a part of the Great Conversation.

I focus a lot on productivity in this blog. More than some think I ought to. For me, productivity is the natural outcome of habits and routines and the gumption to click “Publish” every damned day. The lizard brain is a very real struggle, so is imposter syndrome, and so is the relative comfort of low agency. To overcome each of these hurdles, you must learn to be audacious. For most of us this doesn’t come in a spark of magnificent insight, it comes through incremental daily actions: teaching the brain that this is what is expected of it today and every waking day from here to the very last.

This daily routine of writing profoundly changes you. I’d read that for years in Seth Godin blogs before I finally started posting regularly. I don’t look at my early posts often, for they’re full of typos and grammatical errors and run-on sentences (some things don’t change). But each brought me here. And here brings me to whatever comes next.

What you consistently put out builds boldness and audacity and a blatant disregard for keeping up appearances. What I’ve learned during this dance with daily productivity is to avoid telling the world what you’re going to do. All that matters is what you have done. So by all means: ship it. Lizard brain be damned.

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