Dance like no-one is watching

This post details the slides and content of my short talk given at HuddsDigitals on 26th March 2013.

Dancing like no-one is watching is something I try to keep in mind when it comes to creating things which is the focus of this talk. It's also linked with sticking two fingers up to the trolls which Pete wrote about last year.

Now, the bones of this talk is about simply doing stuff and how to overcome some hurdles along the way. Like everyone, I sometimes suffer from a bit of self-doubt, feel like I'm not good enough to do something or fear a backlash online to something I might post, which outlines what I think are the main hurdles of doing stuff:

Yourself and the world (and the trolls, of course).

Hurdle 1: You

We're all our own worst critic so ourself is the first thing to conquer.

Imagine you're trying something new, taking up drawing for instance, and you produce your first piece of work. You might look at the drawing and think it's terrible. That's ok!

Your first attempt at anything will likely be terrible so don't sweat it. Take the negatives and turn them into positives. Study the drawing, try to understand why it's terrible. Formulate a list of things if neccesary, then pick one thing to focus on. Try again and this time focus on doing that one thing better.

Congratulations! You've just taken your first step to improvement. Repeat this process over and over and you'll find yourself getting better and better each time. With that comes confidence and that inner troll suddenly seems harmless.

Hurdle 2: The World

This one is a little easier to deal with in my opinion. There are roughly seven billion people in the world. Seven billion minds, seven billion opinions.

You're never going to please them all, so don't even try.

Thinking this way can help you shrug off the truly negative a-holes of the world.

Don't force yourself

One last tip I've found helps me to do stuff is to not force myself when I don't have to. When you're not in the mood to do something, forcing yourself inevitably leads to lower quality work. Below is an example of a drawing I did when I wasn't in the mood but was bound by a self-imposed deadline for a project.

When doing personal projects, I oftentimes I now wait until the mood takes me. When I get a spark of inspiration, when I get that feeling in my gut to just draw, I produce work I'm really proud of.

I thought I'd end this with a great quote from Brendan Dawes from 2011, which I think sums up this talk quite nicely, touches on naivety and how it can be beneficial when doing stuff.