Stop Waiting, Do Things Badly.

Ashish Selvaraj
4 min readFeb 17, 2022

Quality is a result of quantity even in creative pursuits.

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

In old Greenwich village, there lived an old man — Mr. Behrman. He had always talked of painting a great picture — a masterpiece, but he had never gotten around to painting it.

Mr. Behrman is just a character in O’Henry’s short story ‘The Last Leaf’, yet I find that most of us bear a striking resemblance to him.

That group included me until about a month ago.

People are often waiting, waiting for the perfect idea or the perfect time so they can create their masterpiece.

But, the unfortunate truth is that there is no silver bullet.

Everyone has heard of practice makes perfect, yet no one seems to apply it to creating content or starting businesses.

They believe that once the right time arrives or the right idea manifests itself, they’ll quit their dead-end jobs, execute flawlessly and live the life of their dreams.

Unfortunately, creation is just like everything else. You need to put in the time and you need to put in the work.

People often like to postpone this hard work to when they get their magic idea because it’s the easy option and they don’t realize that the right time is right now.

The Right Time Is Now

As the popular saying goes, the best time to start was yesterday, the next best time is now.

There will always be other things to do but if you act now, you start your journey towards those hopes and dreams now.

Even if you set a concrete date to begin — it probably won’t work.

Why?

Because by setting a date you’re telling yourself that such a perfect time exists. So, when that day rolls around and even the smallest hiccup presents itself it’ll be enough to throw a spanner in the works and you’ll postpone again.

Cue infinite loop and sad music.

Quantity > Quality

If your dream is to start a business, start building one now. Turn the first idea you get into reality. Chances are this will spur new ideas.

Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

When two Irish brothers were building side projects on the web, they found how difficult accepting payments was. They decided to start a payments company to simplify the whole process and fix it.

Those two brothers — Patrick and John Collison ended up founding Stripe and are worth 9.5 billion…each (Source: Forbes).

If they had waited for the perfect idea to strike them, they would never have come across the idea for Stripe and who knows where they would be today. Maybe they too would be stuck in dead-end 9–5 jobs dreaming of what they would do when the perfect idea struck them.

This isn’t restricted to ideas. It applies to all creative work. Want to become a writer on Medium?

Just write a quick article and hit Publish.

I wanted to start writing on Medium in May 2021. I spent hours writing drafts but I could never hit Publish. I was waiting for them to become perfect.

You need to start creating to get the ball rolling.

Once you start creating businesses/blog posts/videos/anything you’ll make mistakes.

Once you start making mistakes you’ll find better ways to do things.

Once you find better ways to do things, your end results grow in quality.

This brings me to my final point.

Billion Dollar Idea != Billion Dollars

Suppose this billion-dollar idea does strike you.

If you’ve never built a business before, you have a 99.99% chance of failure no matter how amazing your idea is.

Your execution of the idea is far more important than the idea itself.

If it’s your first business you’re certain to fall into every single common pitfall and make every single common mistake. If you had had practice, you could easily have avoided them.

If your idea is truly great, your competitors will catch on and you better believe this wouldn’t be their first rodeo. They’ll execute faster and better in every conceivable way because they have done this all before.

I gave the example of a business here but it applies to articles and any other creative work. Your first article is probably going to be terrible even if the idea behind it was brilliant. The competitors in that scenario are going to be the thousands of other writers vying for the reader’s eyeballs.

This topic was close to my heart because back in May 2021, I spent hours writing drafts but never published them because I was determined to make my articles perfect.

If you have an article that’s been in the drafts for a while, consider hitting publish. It may not be perfect, but nothing ever will be. But, each article gets you closer and closer.

Thanks for reading!

Last note: If you enjoyed this story, please consider following, it would mean a lot. I need to hit 100 followers by March to stay in the Partner Program.

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