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What Megaman Can Teach You About Achieving Overnight Success

The Only Weapon You Need to Fight Negative Thoughts

Five minutes before starting this article, I hated every aspect of sitting down to write. But you know what beats procrastination and makes you a better creative?

Work ethic. It’s all you need.

Want to write a book?

Want to write a play, a song, a symphony? Want to code an app or create a company?

Work ethic.

That’s all you need.

You may need a whole pot of coffee to get you going, but if the engine of work requires it, fill up the fucking tank.

Do the Work

One of my favorite books is Do the Work by Steven Pressfield.

It reminds me of my father. Not because my father writes screenplays and is a famous inspiration for creatives all over the world. No, it’s because the book teaches you that to get anything done, you have to actually go out and do it.

You have to get up every morning and go to work, regardless of what kind of work you want to do. My father lays tiles like a stoic monk. Throughout my childhood he’d get up every day, put on a flannel shirt and groutcolored jeans and go to work. No procrastination. No nothing. Just doing the job he had to do, like clockwork.

Millions of people have walked on his tiles. But the only way those millions would’ve had the privilege to walk on my father’s work is because he got up, every day, and…

Did. The. Work.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My mother has the same work ethic and raised it in me just as well. But for this analogy, creating a gruff blue collar worker in the theater of your mind is more fitting.

There Aren’t Any Shortcuts

Overnight success is a beautiful thing to dream about, but that’s the only thing it is. It’s a pipe dream. An unattainable fantasy that never happens.

Overnight success takes years to achieve. You might think that some writer’s book became an overnight success because it hit the best-seller list out of nowhere. Or you might be jealous because some shitty shitty musician you’ve never heard of hit the charts while you’re still scraping by playing coffee shops.

What those “overnight success stories” don’t tell you is all the stuff that doesn’t fit into the definition of “success.” Self doubt. Procrastination. Paranoia. Failure. Rejection. Boredom. Burn out.

If a creative said to me that they’ve never tackled these things on their road to “success” (whatever that means), then I’d tell them they’re lying. And to get the hell out of my house.

Those “negative” aspects of success are the very things that make you a stronger creative. Think of them like the Robot Master bosses in the old NES game Megaman. Whenever you would beat a boss in Megaman, you’d gain their special weapons to make you stronger. Whenever you encounter roadblocks on the way to success, just collect the feelings of failure like weapons and use them to make you stronger. Remember that you’re here to do the work and to move over any speed bumps on the way.

The Only Weapon You Need to Fight Negative Thoughts

As I looked out the kitchen window, over the smell of freshly brewing coffee I thought, “this day is going to suck.”

But then I stopped myself. Why? Why does it have to suck. The day hasn’t done anything to deserve its suckiness yet. It may have just been the lack of caffeine in my veins, but there was no real reason yet for the day to turn bad.

So I squinted my eyes and took another look out the window. The sun was shining. I had a good night’s sleep. The coffee smelled good. I was out of spinach for my smoothie, but that’s hardly a negative. Spinach is more of a means to an end. Not an enjoyment in and of itself. Overall, there was nothing to feel shitty about.

But the split second weapon I used to turn my entire day around was a simple one.

Awareness.

Realizing that “hey, all this negativity is pointless” can change your paradigm. All these noises in your brain are only your own stupid thoughts trying to make the day shitty. There’s no reason for it to be shitty. Fuck your thoughts. Replace them with sunshine.

Those are the moments that I realize that meditation works. If your life is a movie, then meditation allows you to slow down the movie just long enough to realize that you can see the cue marks. A cue mark signals that the movie reel is going to end. At that point it’s up to you to replace the reel to further the story. Do you want the next reel to be shitty, or sunshine?

Don’t Be a Hard Luck Story Like Rudy

Be a hard working story instead. Don’t scam your way to success through shortcuts that don’t pan out. Put in the work and amass your arsenal to fight your way through failure, rejection and self-doubt.

I know there’s a person inside each of us that doesn’t want to hear any of it. They just want to do as little as possible for the most amount of reward. They’ll try to scam their way to the top, taking as many shortcuts as possible.

Rudy let his inner person take control, and he’s the character we talk about in the next episode of Tales From the Homestead. His song, Rudy Got Caught Again is a cautionary tale about all the things that happen when you don’t put in the work to try to be a better person.

Take a listen to it here.

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Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

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Bjorgvin Benediktsson

I write about music, creativity, and entrepreneurship. My new book, You Get What You Give, is out now. Grab it here: https://geni.us/YGWYG