Put your head down and work.
You read these self-help books and they almost universally say something to the effect of “set goals, be goal oriented, goal, goal, goals.
Goals are for those who would rather spend their time daydreaming about the future than making those dreams reality. Just put your head down and work, produce, publish.
Inherent to being focused on goals is being focused on the future. If you’re focused on the future you’re not focused on what’s in front of you right now: the work.
I am not goal oriented. I’m process oriented.
I cannot predict how the pieces are going to align, I have no idea what the roads are to get to my final destination, but what I do know is what I can do today to be better at what I do, to add a little bit of something onto my hoarder’s heap of my work.
It wasn’t my plan to publish hundreds of articles on my blog about China so I could get noticed by a NY Times best-selling author who would offer me a book deal. It wasn’t my intention to write the book so I could secure a place writing for big media. I didn’t start writing for big media so I could land high paying speaking engagements. No, each step of the process was about that step. Perfect it and advance.
The plan for each day should be to have fun, not to someday be successful. Success is a grasping; fun is a taking. Grasping for goals all too often results in hands left empty. Even if you get them you’ll probably just start reaching for something else.
Always be where you want to be. Build the projects that you want to be doing right now. If they don’t hit the target maybe you’re not good enough yet or maybe you’re picking the wrong projects or maybe you just have to keep plodding down the road. Adjust. Adapt. Try new things. Experiment. Improve. Have fun.
I don’t believe that success is a stairway. I don’t believe that there is a path that leads you to where you want to go. If you are not satisfied, fulfilled, enraptured by your work you’re probably going to feel just as empty on the other side. There is rarely ever a point where you are going to rise to a level where you can sit back and say, “There, I made it.” Life is either a constant grasping or a constant taking.
Take whatever you can for today.
So often I hear from people who say they want to be writers who never write, aspiring filmmakers who never shoot, prospective business people who never deal.
Ideal conditions don’t exist. Just start walking and find the way.
You don’t need permission from anyone to do the work you love.
Gain experience, get a few battle wounds, bleed a little, earn your story.