mevagissey.co.uk is a project is not going to go anywhere until I am routinely producing and editing content – creating stuff, probably everyday.
This is only a small project, so the same is true of any future creative project.
I have been trying to figure out how I can introduce routine creative time into my days. I think I might be able to manage 15 minutes in the morning without having to sacrifice on either sporting commitments, social life or sleep.
Without social life, physical activity in the evenings and sleep, I think life will be significantly worse, therefore I am unwilling to sacrifice them to take my projects more seriously.
This will then leave me with the question, what can I change in order to make creative time part of my days? I have turned my attention to my job.
The issue is that both creative work and my job involve sitting down behind a desk and compete for the same resources. Doing both would mean working days that I think would be too long, and I wouldn’t be able to do either of them to a high standard. Not saying other people couldn’t do it, but with my issues with attention and office work, I would probably be unhappy living like that. The cost of switching tasks is also very high / maybe impossible. What’s the point if it makes me unhappy?
So, I began to think about my work, and considered if there might be a more outdoors / on your feet / social job I could move towards that would allow me to dedicate my true resources to the creative work in the mornings for 3 hours or so, while leaving my mental resources free.
I then began to think that this is a poor plan. Yes, balance is good, but doing something only in order to balance something else without it having any other purpose will not make it feel engaging or worthwhile. If I was a park ranger, plumber or paramedic but my real passion was creative work, I would spend all that time wishing I was doing that instead.
The best idea I came up with was full property renovation, landscaping and maybe even interior design. This would be mostly physical work with a creative aspect, challenge and potentially large financial reward. Plus, it might help me move closer towards my dream of living in a mud hut complex // old farm area. The downside is it could be lonely, all-absorbing and the work is actually very menial and dull.
I then meditated.
The answer I came up with in this context was:
You are asking freedom to provide security and security to provide freedom. If you consider the bigger picture, you will see that you do not need to get both these things from the same source. If your side project was one that was done for creative expression, zest for life, or a simple desire to help other people, it would not be so tiring but would make your life seem more abundant. The people whose lifestyles inspire you are those that engage with beauty for the sake of beauty, they do not force every object of their attention to have economic utility. It only tires you because you are making it into a burden for generating money. What if instead you worked a job that provides you with flexibility and good amounts of leisure time. Then you would have the money and security from a job and the time for your personal projects. You should be responsible in your job and work properly, then in your free time enjoy your personal projects. That creates balance between security, responsibility and freedom, creativity.
Now, you may say ‘but I need to make more money than I will get from that kind of job, so I need to use my free time not for passion projects but for work. I must mould what interests me into something productive’.
Why do you want this money? So that you can live in a nice house and spend your time working on and funding personal projects that are intrinsically valuable? But surely if you aren’t working on those projects NOW when you could be in your free time, you will find a reason you can’t do it then, too? What you’re really saying is ‘given the levels of scarcity, I am not in a position to give the bulk of my attention to projects that don’t directly contribute to my financial bottom line’. That might be an accurate assessment, but if you have a fairly well-paid job and are good with your money and are opportunistic and an investor, will that not provide enough security to warrant a bit more freedom? Is it not within your grasp already without starting a business?
You could just get a job that gives you a fair bit of free time, enjoy your free time for what it is, and do your job properly.
You don’t need to start a business. What you really want is freedom and independence so that you can engage with interesting and worthwhile projects more or less for their own sake. It’s actually easier to get those things by NOT starting a business (at least initially), but just having a decent work ethic and taking your passion projects seriously without requiring that they progress your career. This way you get to do what’s actually fun in your free time, that you actually enjoy. You get a life of abundance that you want RIGHT NOW.
I can imagine one life, in which I slave away at a business idea trying to make it take off. If it does, by the time I am rich enough to work on something purely because I want it to exist, I won’t be inspired enough or skilled or networked enough to actually do it with the right people.
In other words, the best way to live a live of freedom, independence and abundance is not to make yourself a slave to money, but rather to do things for their own sake with pride and to be sensible with money so that it doesn’t cause you problems and you always have enough.
I’m trying to distill this:
‘Do not expect one thing to provide both creative freedom and security. You will probably lose both. Acquire them by separate means. Be happy with that. Eventually, your creative work might be monetizable and lead to security on its own, but if you introduce that as a constraint early, it will come at the price of the enjoyment of it.’
‘I am most likely to get rich and live a lifestyle of focusing on personal projects that excite me if I start a business now’ – WRONG.
Why this is wrong:
- If you start a business to try and make money it won’t have its basis in something that interests you and as a result, will not be something you would choose to do for free.
- If you get money, but you have not engaged with things that interest you for their own sake, you will have lost inspiration, and your life will suck still, so the money won’t be all that useful.
- You are more likely to develop skills that would help you create value for others rapidly by doing two types of activity: 1) taking responsibility through work and learning from others 2) doing things that interest you and pushing your own boundaries for fun. These two things are more possible if you have a job and fun side projects than if you focus on building a business to make money.
The real idea in all of this is this:
A scarcity mindset does not create conditions that are conducive to a life of freedom, independence and abundance. Starting a business to make money so that you can get a life with those things is a very wicked mirage.
Starting a business out of inspiration in a particular area (e.g. love of climbing and a belief you can make a superior climbing sole OR an interest in sales funnels and a desire to optimise your analytics all day).
I don’t think that a scarcity mindset creates the right conditions for the life I want and I don’t buy the usual argument that ‘a focus on things that don’t have obvious economic utility is fine for the rich but most people can’t afford to think like that’.
If you are employed, with you left over time you are more likely to have a good life and start a business THE RIGHT WAY if you start with FUN and INTEREST and let utility take care of itself later.
NOTE: I am not saying that you are more likely to get rich this way. A scarcity mindset might create decent financial returns, but once you get the money it won’t be useful to you because you won’t be an inspired person with developed natural interests AND if you were the type to start a business you probably would have done it anyway at a later date in a way that was driven by inspiration rather than scarcity.
The problem here is that a focus on making money can stop you from seeing what actually has value and lead to you to sell far too much for a life that’s not that good.
Discussed this with Will and dad.
I think ultimately working uncomfortably hard and loving the game is the answer until I have a side project running properly, then I will be doing something exciting all the time, and it will be exciting growing a business. What’s more exciting than selling products every day , tracking analytics, etc? I love this. I’m going in and adding creative time before work everyday. I’m going to add more to life, and when it feels too much, add some more social, or a weekend away to get fucked, to balance it out. You can create balance by adding more or by taking things away. I am adding more to everything and hoping it will balance.