Did you give some thought to the questions I asked yesterday?
What goal, bigger than yourself, are you willing to dedicate your time to?
What do you really want to become a master of?
And who do you want to give back to?
If not, then today's email may be the motivation you need. Remember, future-you is wondering why you didn't start today. So let's get started.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says "You do not rise to the level of your goals; you fall to the level of your systems." Which he adapted from Greek poet Archilochus; “We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
We fall to the level of our systems, our training, our habits. So you must align your habits, or behavior, with your goals in order to achieve them. All it takes is 1% every day. But this means putting out work that you can quantifiably measure. Even if you believe it's less than your standard of quality.
Conceptualizing your goals is effective, but it's only the first step. Most people set out to do what they think they can do; not what they want to do. So answer the questions above, think about what you really want to do. Then do it.
On October 11th 2010, the animated series Adventure Time released an episode titled "It Came From The Nightosphere". Since airing, the "Fries Song" from the episode, written by Rebecca Sugar, has become one of the most memorable songs from the show. The song actually allowed the main writer, Pendleton Ward, to create backstory that followed through to the last episode. Rebecca had no idea the significance of the song she had written when presenting it. In fact, she remembers the moment as when "they're going to find out I'm not that good." It took an entire season of writing for the show before Rebecca had her first song debut in Season 2, Episode 1. An entire season of honing her craft, and still doubting the quality of her work; though she continued daily.
Rebecca's opinion of her creative ability leans toward Imposter Syndrome, which I will talk more about in a future email. Even still, the result of her effort is the same. She followed what excited her, knowing not if the result would be the quality her peers would accept.
What Rebecca did not necessarily have to endure was going against-the-grain of her peers. Which is significantly harder, even for the sake of self-improvement. Consider that your friend group goes out for drinks every weekend, but drinking doesn't fit with your desire for physical health.
When conceptualizing the dynamic of the friend group for the cast to play on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, creator Rob McElhenny sought to create the opposite of what had been done before. His exact aim was for the characters on the show to "never be there for each other." Rob's inspiration came from the '90's show Friends, and their theme song: "I'll be there for you". The pilot of Sunny was filmed with a single shaky camera on a set that the writers intentionally rubbed dirt on to 'set the scene'. But despite the plot being in direct opposition to what's worked before, It's Always Sunny was bought by FX in 2005.
It's my opinion that the epitome of screen writers dedicating their time to what excites them are Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David writing for the show Seinfeld. In the episode "The Pitch" the cast somewhat break the 4th-wall, as they are essentially playing out the original creation of the show. Character George Costanza says to Jerry "It's a show about... nothing!" And Seinfeld truly was about nothing. The characters were written to not progress physically, mentally or emotionally. And, not to spoil the show for you (it ended in 1998 by the way), but the first dialog introducing the series was the same conversation being had during the outro of the final episode.
Though the gratification for the writers of Seinfeld was quick, the significance of their creation wasn't known for months while sitting in the writers' room before their pilot was seen. But by the final seasons of Seinfeld's 9-year long series of going against-the-grain, the cast were each paid a record $1M/episode.
You don't have to go against-the-grain to be successful. My advice for today is:
- Go after what excites you
- 1% of quantifiable work every day
- Share your progress, even if you're unsure about it
Organize the varying aspects of your life you would like to see 1% progress in. May it be physical health, mental health, wealth, education, communication skills. You'll be amazed at your progress within the first month!
I believe in you,
P.S. This email was originally sent on 3.21.23. To subscribe to daily emails click here!