Personally, I can’t say that I know my own limits.
I don’t know how long I can run, how many push-ups or pull-ups I can do, how many pounds I can bench press or squat, how long I can study for, how long I can work on projects for…
I don’t know them because I’ve never bothered to find out. I’ve never pushed beyond my comfort zone to figure out what I’m personally capable of.
And maybe I did it because I wanted to be proud of my imagined potential. When I watch weightlifters benchpress absurd amounts of weight or read about runners completing day-long marathons, I inject my fantasy into them without having to invest a single muscle twitch.
“I could probably do that if I exercised as long as they have” I mutter as I lay there on the couch, scrolling mindlessly through Instagram and Youtube with my Doritos covered fingers.
I groan as I see that my 2L Mountain Dew bottle has been displaced from its original place and now required me to exert tremendous effort to reach for it.
I give up on the idea of quenching my thirst for the sake of maintaining my comfort and go back to my vegetative state, eager to get lost in my fantasies again.
It’s so easy to dream up an ideal version of yourself and convince yourself that you will “become that version” one day. It makes you happy in the present because maybe you’re not very happy with your current self. It makes you optimistic for the future, for better things to come.
But it’s just as easy to allow the days to go by, to tell yourself that the day will come when everything changes, when you will suddenly find the motivation to unravel and discard all the bad habits you’ve been building and are accustomed to, and automatically adopt healthy habits.
You tell yourself that all you need to do is to find motivation, and you wait for it to appear like a magic fairy.
You don’t necessary look for it because you secretly know that all motivation articles or videos will tell you the same things: action is the only answer and you must start now.
You don’t like the message because it’s not sexy. You don’t like it because it’s too straightforward and simple.
You think to yourself, “Isn’t there a life-changing experience that I could find an excuse to go on? Doesn’t something unexpected or spectacular need to happen, where I go through an epiphany and commit to my life calling for the rest of my life?”
As an artist, you wait for ideas to strike your imagination like thunder, yet it rarely comes. You find it quite unreliable, but you still buy into the notion that your best work only comes from these inconsistent and unpredictable moments.
This allows you to continue to procrastinate and avoid doing the hard work, which is ultimately sitting down and concentrating on fleshing out potential ideas.
Momentum For Creative Works
I think the idea of momentum applies not only to the physical world but also to the creative world. Once you get a stationary object moving, it tends to stay in that motion. Once you start creating something, you tend to influence the brain to continue to produce.
For example, I’ve been trying to make it my mission to write every single day.
Each morning I encounter the same problem and I confront the same anxious thought: “What could I possibly write about today? I have nothing to offer. My creativity is dried up — I used it all yesterday!”
I slowly continue to ponder over the problem throughout each day, hoping that revelation strikes and that the words will flow effortlessly onto the keyboard.
It usually never happens this way. I go throughout my day, constantly searching for something, anything, to focus my attention on and write about. I try to write about all the things I’ve observed or read throughout my day, and I write out a few ideas or sentences that I could use in my future writings.
Interestingly enough, the moment I set my aim to think and write about one idea a day, my mind went to work and started to assist me in producing sufficient ideas to write about.
Before I had this objective, I could not for the life of me devise any idea that I thought was worth writing about. But now that my mind had been given a goal, it transformed the world to help me achieve my aims.
Writing and The Truth
But conjuring up ideas is only half the battle. Sitting down and articulating the unrealized potential of words that sit within your mind is another story.
This is clearly the hardest part of the process because this is where the action takes place, where we actually have to struggle and overcome the hardships that are an integral part of the creative process.
Even up until the moment where I sit down at the computer and open this blank page, I do not know what will come forth. There are many days where I dread this moment, because I lack faith in myself, in my ability to find something of worth to say.
Sometimes I write things that might be considered incoherent and aimless. Sometimes I write things that I haven’t thought through very clearly.
But I think this is all part of the journey in finding the words that resonate with your heart. Writing is a deeply personal process because it is where your heart’s words are reflected back to you for the first time. Until they are manifested into reality, you don’t really know what to think of them.
You don’t necessarily know what you believe until you call forth the words that reside within you. Writing is a desperate search for words that describe perfectly the emotions you’ve felt and thoughts that you’ve imagined.
You have an inner compass that dictates whether or not the words that you’ve written are a true depiction of your inner world.
When your writing is true, it fills you with meaning and sends shivers down your spine.
When your writing is true, you find that your hands cannot stop writing, for they become merely tools for the spirit to carry out the truth that is within.
When your writing is true, it resonates with other people, because they also have inner compasses that can feel authenticity. You will tap into parts of people that lay dormant, and encourage them to look within as you have.
When your writing is true, you can change the world.