Years ago, I was so confident and so naive. I was sure I was right and everyone else was wrong.
After I sold my company, I felt ready to do something new, so I started to learn. But the more I learned, the more I realized how little I knew and how dumb-lucky I had been.
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 new 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’s judging me because nobody’s thinking of me. They’re just looking for ways to improve their own lives. 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.
I’m glad my old confidence is gone because it thought I was right, and maybe even great, but not anymore.
Now I aim to make my work — my little contribution to the world — just unique and useful.