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Prove it to Yourself and Nobody Else
Promote your WORK not your WORTH
“We’re all a little suspect of our own talent.” -Ethan Hawke
That’s why getting affirmations and praise from our peers is so tempting. Having other people confirm our talent is dangerously close to allowing others to control our value in the eyes of others and worse, ourselves.
The only way to truly walk in the power of real confidence is to value your own talent and creativity by prioritizing it in your life. The minute we give preferential treatment to distractions like social media in order to fulfill some sort of need for attention or validation, we have traded the concrete power of our creativity for the flimsy, fickle, unsatisfying love of others.
It is our work that gives us a voice.
It is our work that fuels our passion and quiets the hunger in our bellies.
It is our work that propels us forward.
Why in the world would we ever exchange all this valuable time and energy to express ourselves on the low-calorie rewards social media provides?
And let’s just say the work isn’t in you or you need a break or you’re feeling uninspired. Stephen King once said (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you’re feeling inspired, write. If you’re uninspired, read.”
Read the work of people who set the bar really goddamn high because I assure you, there is more to be done. There are improvements we need to make. We have room to grow and learn. We’re not going to get there by wasting an hour filling up our camera roll with outtakes of the perfect selfie and composing a caption that makes it sound like we’re busy living our dream, right? Living the dream looks like fucking doing the thing.
“Most of us really want to offer the world something of quality. Something that the world will consider good or important. And, that’s really the enemy. Because it’s not up to us whether what we do is any good, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that the world is an unreliable critic.” -Ethan Hawke
All the time I remind myself to prioritize the work and not the worth. What I do matters to me, so it’s already worthy. And what I do matters to others, I know this because I’m doing what I do full-time, right? This is my career. So worth is taken care of. What I need to actually focus on is the work.
Because without the work, what am I doing? Where am I spending my time? Socializing? Spinning my wheels generating worth through meaningless app content that will not stand the test of time, let alone 5 minutes in anyone’s mind? Useless shit that rises or falls by an algorithm? Never. Come on, that’s bullshit. And I’m not saying we all need to dump our social media profiles—scrolling Twitter or TikTok is great if you need to kill some time at the airport or the waiting room—but not precious hours you’ve set aside for creativity. Fuck that.
The next time you’re at the desk working and that creeping need to check your notifications starts needling at you, get up and put your phone in another room in the house and go back to work.
“To express ourselves, we have to know ourselves. What do you love? And if you get close to what you love, who you are is revealed to you.” -Ethan Hawke
Spend time getting to know yourself. Get closer to what you love, what you really love so that you can express it to others through the talent you have coursing through your veins and out your fingertips in the form of words or art or whatever. And don’t concern yourself with what other people are going to say about it.
“Play the fool.” —Ethan Hawke