Years ago, I was so confident, and so naive. I was so sure that I was right and everyone else was wrong.
Unfortunately I was lucky and got successful, so that kept me ignorant of my shortcomings.
I continued learning until I felt like an absolute idiot. By then I was paralyzed, unable to create anything new.
I’d start to make things, but then see how stupid they revealed me to be, so I’d stop. I lost all confidence. I spent a few years completely stuck.
Eventually, some new thoughts helped:
- Learning without doing is wasted. If I don’t use what I learn, then it was pointless! How horrible to waste those hundreds of hours I spent learning, and not turn it into action. Like throwing good food in the trash: it’s morally wrong.
- This isn’t about me. How I feel in this moment doesn’t matter — it will pass. Nobody is judging me, because nobody is thinking of me. They are just looking for things to improve their own life. The public me is not the real me anyway, so if they judge my public persona, that’s fine.
- The work is the point, and my work is unique. If I can do something that people find useful, then I should. It doesn’t matter if it’s a masterpiece or not, as long as I enjoy it. I’ve got my own weird angle on things that’s a useful counter-melody in the big orchestra of life.
So I’m glad my old confidence is gone, because it thought I was right, and maybe even great. But I quit that contest.
Now I aim to make my work — my little contribution to the world — just unique and useful.