The past two years I’ve kept a running list of the books I’m reading to give other people ideas for what to read next.
With my new site (the one you’re reading), and my inherent commitment to write 500 or more words per day, I’m taking the opportunity to expand and comment on the books I’m reading.
These aren’t reviews in the traditional sense, because my concern when reading isn’t to uncover if the book is good or bad. My goal is simply to take what’s valuable and applicable from the book and extract it into my life.
Book #2 – Create or Hate: Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris
If you’re familiar with the work of Steven Pressfield then this book will be a familiar tone. Written by an Australian entrepreneur and writer, it’s intended to be a rallying cry of sorts to get you to create – a book, a website, a company, anything that pushes your creativity and fear.
Hate, as referenced in the title, refers to that invisible and visceral force that tries to get in our way of creating things, akin to what Pressfield calls the Resistance. Anyone that’s ever attempted anything that stretches their creative comfort has no doubt faced this Hate. It’s the bubbling up of fear, insecurities, and excuses that only appears when we step into unfamiliar waters.
A few of my favorite Kindle highlights from the book:
Timing is a huge factor that is rarely acknowledged and can often be the difference between complete failure and monumental success…When I look at my success and the successes of others, it’s pretty clear that the majority of the factors are completely random…The only thing I do know about successful people is that they create things.
These are a few different lines from early in the book, and they set an important framework for creating anything. Success is largely misunderstood, which is apparent in most biographies or “how I got here” stories we read. What we often view as talent from the outside is really just a combination of luck, hard work, and creation compounding over time. Most overnight success stories are decades in the making. But to be successful, you have to create and create a lot, crossing your fingers that lady luck meets you at some point along the way.
It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing & criticize others. ~Ricky Gervais
I love this quote because it’s so key to the inevitable presence of criticism that comes with creating anything. I try to remember this anytime I see a mediocre review, a negative comment on a post, or the infamous social media “hater.” I am the one with the courage to create. They are not.
Listen for that little voice in your head, telling you — in quite reasonable and measured tones — why you can’t do something.
This is an important thought because being proactive about the Hate or Resistance in the act of creating something takes away its power. That little nudge trying to hold us back – whether it be doubt, fear, self-sabotage, or any excuse it can get its hands on (like “not enough time”) – loses its grip on us when we recognize it for what it is; something trying to hold us back from building something great.
Every time you make something and ignore negativity, you become a better creator and you starve Hate.
And if you don’t read this book, or Pressfield’s The War of Art, at least keep this thought burned in your mind. Because it’s the only way to ultimately beat the things that hold us back – action. Hate and Resistance have one goal in mind – keeping us from doing the work. If we can muster up the little courage it takes to put pen to paper or make progress on our company, idea, or dream, the things holding us back disappear. They will surely resurface again in the future, which is why persistence in the act of creating is critical, but the recipe is the same every time:
Acknowledge the forces against us and take action anyway.