I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve decided that a negative mindset is the most expensive luxury there is, and it’s one that I can’t afford.
The reason I call negativity a luxury is because it consumes time, energy, and momentum that most people cannot afford to give up. This ’t to say that the wolf called Self-Doubt doesn’t come knocking on my door often — it does. But by telling this dark recess of my psyche to sod off — sometimes daily — I ’t lose the self-confidence it takes to survive in this world.
The creative industry seems to deal with imposter syndrome more than other industries. Maybe it’s because the outliers in our field, the Jobs, the Zuckerbergs, the Musks — are the people that we look up to. We believe we should be able to attain at least a portion of their success. But I’ve never seen an industry where people who are so driven are also so full of self-doubt. It’s like we have to prove our worth to ourselves and the world anew every day.
It doesn’t do us any good to measure ourselves against people whose success we want to emulate.
Recently, Gary Vaynerchuk said he doesn’t look at what the competition is doing, and he said this in an entrepreneurial sense. But it is also practical in the personal sense.
Everyone in this industry feels that they can be successful if they just work really hard, and implement the right strategies. But there are many paths to success. The trick is finding which one is yours. You can’t expect the same results as one of your heroes. It doesn’t happen like that. Each of your circumstances are different, your life experiences are different, your time frames are different, your talents are slightly different.
Competitive people are hard on themselves.
Perfectionism is both a blessing and a curse. It makes you want to excel in everything you do, but it also makes you question yourself daily. Every week on Hacker News, you can find another entrepreneur in their 20s who feels like a failure because their startup shut down. Even though 90% of startups fail, everyone believes that they should always be on one of the 10% of surviving teams. Optimism becomes expectation. If you you don’t hit a home run every time, you feel like you failed as a human being. Those are the kind of standards of people hold themselves to in this industry. It’s unhealthy.
Life isn’t easy, and neither is business. I’ve got invisible battle scars from both. I’m positive most web professionals aren’t aware of how lucky they are, or how grateful they should be.
I’m no different than others. I struggle with self-doubt. But I see many folks struggling with self-doubt that are doing better than I am right now. Maybe that’s why I don’t let myself succumb to it.
Negativity is something that can affect you, no matter what level of success you are at. But everything in your life starts with how you see yourself. I haven’t made it to The levels I want to be at yet either, so for now, negativity and self-doubt are something I can’t afford to feel.
It’s good to want more for yourself. Ambition and desire are necessary qualities to be an entrepreneur. You have to want to better yourself. But you can’t beat yourself up because you ’t getting there as fast as you think you should be. Have patience. Good things come in time. Stay your course, and know that what you feel is normal. Don’t stop fighting your inner resistance.
We all fear that we won’t become all the things that we desire to be. But we can’t wrap our self-worth up in that criteria. Talk down that negative voice in your head. Believing what that internal negative voice says is a luxury that you ’t afford either.