What happens when you learn to let go of being serious and being the best.
Wherever you’ve grown up in the world, the basics are the same:
They teach you to think before you speak; do things as best you can; conform to rules you don’t even understand yet; take your school work seriously, and so on. As a result, we learn to take everything a little bit too seriously.
I have been working on getting this thing out of my head. Basically, if my brain is a computer and that seriousness is part of my programming, I’m working hard on reprogramming my brain to take everything less seriously.
I know, it sounds kinda funny, especially when things are serious.
I was going out with this guy once. I truly loved him and he loved me, but I was so caught up in being careful about how I acted and how good of a girlfriend I was, that I missed the whole point — being happy and playful and young. We had a friendly couple who were always joking around and reveling in their awkwardness. I can guarantee you they were happier than us.
It’s the same for art and creativity.
It’s the same for art and creativity and even business — you won’t be happy until you learn to let go and be playful. When the artist is not so concerned with the result and gives herself permission to play, magic happens.
We were naturally good at this as children, when we simply picked something up and didn’t care what would come of it, we just had fun. However, we’ve forgotten how to be young and carefree since everyone around us has been telling us to grow up and get serious. One thing you can do to tap back into this well of youth and playfulness and being carefree is to experiment. But don’t just experiment the way other people would when they try to make money. Experiment the way a 5-year-old would, the one that has no idea what money is, the one that was into legos and mermaids and pillow-case theater. (And sometimes she would put all of those things together.)
One thing I did to go back to that child was releasing a daily recording on Soundcloud back when I didn’t even know what podcasting was. Instead of following all the expert advice online, I decided to play.
It started out as a way to get comfortable with my voice, but it quickly became an exercise in letting go. Letting go of the expectation that it should be perfect (as if that actually exists). Letting go of the requirement that people should like it. Letting go of its importance altogether.
This helped me shrug off my ego.
You know, the ego that tells you things have to be perfect to be published. The ego that doesn’t accept anything less than amazing results. The ego that tells you you have to do things as experts do them so you can reap similar rewards. And the ego that says the only thing that matters, ever, is money.
SCREW THE EXPERTS AND THEIR AMAZING RESULTS!
Stop saying that you’re experimenting and then do things exactly the way others have done them. Stop expecting nothing short of perfection even though you’re no God or Goddess. Stop setting yourself up for boredom and disappointment and a life of miserable mundaneness and control-freakiness.
Just be you instead — human, imperfect, playful, and proud of living in a time when your voice can be heard, of having a voice, of using it to spread the message that is SO important to you, a message that matters.
That’s how you make a difference. Not by following the experts to the dot and growing up and being serious, but by letting go of this fixation on being the best, being perfect, and judging how good or bad everything is.
Now it’s your turn.
Why don’t you join me in letting go and shrugging off your ego?
Do something you haven’t done before without any research or reading up on it. Just allow yourself to SUCK and share it, so others can see it’s okay for them to suck, too. This is actually an exercise that I have been giving to my clients — it’s called 30 Days of Sucking — and it changes everything.
Letting go of being serious will:
- help you let go of your fears— your fear of vulnerability, your fear of looking like a fool, your fear of nobody listening, and all those pesky irrational fears that hold you back from greatness.
- help you release things into the world that aren’t perfect, but are ready to be shared anyway (like this article).
- help you feel lighter, without the weight of that pressure you put on yourself — to be the best, to be perfect, to be professional. (I now realize that was working against me, not for me.)
- help you enjoy your craft more and come up with more unique ideas because you’re no longer hung up on “the rules.”
I hope that you’ll take this challenge and spend the next 30 days doing something without judging it, without asking the experts, and without caring what comes of it. Let’s just be rebels for a while.