The Hard Part

If you’re asking yourself what to create next, keep going. Keep asking. Never quit asking. Even if the answers aren’t always obvious.

Create work that gets criticized and judged. That’s better than work that gets ignored, or worse, never gets created at all.

Create work that can’t be replicated with obedience. Create work that can be replicated with discipline.

Obedience: “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” Start here and stop there. Then start again here and stop over there.

Discipline: Just tell me which distractions I should ignore, and I’ll ignore them.

Distractions: Your work has started to spread, people want your attention, you have critics, harsh critics, fans, rabid fans. Or, your work doesn’t spread. For six years. No one is reading, seeing, listening, or watching your work. You’re telling yourself to quit. The possibilities of a more stable life are telling you to quit. Just call it pivoting. That sounds better than quitting. There’s gossip to listen to. There’s drama to be a part of. The democrats are saying this, and the republicans are saying that.

Work that’s replicated with obedience is work comprised of directions to be followed.  Obedience is about moving from this moment to the next moment as quick as you can, as cleanly as you can, as in accordance to an outline, a boss, an overseer, as best as you can. Move from this moment to the next moment, because the next moment could be retirement.

Discipline treats this moment as all there is. To the disciplined, there is no next moment. The only moment is right now, and now is where the work needs to go. Discipline requires no one to tell you what to do, how to do it, or why do it at all. A practice in discipline is a practice in shutting out all of the noise so that you can bring to fruition the work that’s intrinsic to you. Stay in this moment indefinitely, because there is no retirement to the disciplined.

 

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