“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”Colin Powell
The hard truth about output and growth
There are some things to know about how output leads to growth.
To get good at something you must put some hard work into it.
To become good at creating anything you must first create some things to improve upon.
Then you must work to improve upon them.
If you aspire to write at a high-quality level, then you must first write something then rewrite it, so it is better.
Same with music. You must first play something, then practice playing that something better.
Once started you must keep going in this fashion, so the quality improves over time. It’s not easy but you need to do it this way.
Some rare people can produce fully finished and high-quality output first time every time. I am not one of them. I don’t know about you, but I must follow the hard work iterative process.
The more work you put into achieving something will lead you into creating more output.
When you then learn and grow based on the feedback you get for each output event, your quality will increase.
Being prolific in output coupled with improvement through feedback will lead to growth.
BTW – if you prefer an audio version of this, I have included one for you at the end of this article.
My constant output inspiration
For inspiration to keep my productivity high I always think about one of my personal heroes, Mr Bob Dylan.
Whether you like his work or not, you must concede that Bob Dylan has produced a colossal body of work.
Has the work always hit the mark or met his high personal standards? No, of course not, but the point is he did it all anyway.
He created it all and he put it all out there.
Bob grew better and better as a direct result of his prolific output. He earned his well-deserved Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
The American radio presenter Ira Glass also has some wonderful views and advice on the topic. I would encourage you to look at this YouTube video: Ira Glass on Creativity.
Create output systems for greatest growth
I am a big fan of creating personal systems, protocols, workflows, and frameworks. See also my “Personal philosophies rock” post.
Taking this approach borders on obsession with me at times but even so, it is very effective.
When you use such systems, you get consistent output quality, reliability, and quantity.
If you set up your system to make it as easy as possible to begin and complete your tasks, then you will be more productive.
As mentioned, more output coupled with feedback-driven improvement will lead to growth.
Habits drive high output and growth
When you set up systems and use them over time, you will create habits.
Habits are very powerful tools. They are neutral and can work for you or against you. Develop positive habits.
Habits get you into a productive, rhythmic groove and your work can seem effortless.
It is all too easy to become complacent at this point and start to “go through the motions.”
You should always maintain desired output quality levels whilst seeking continuous growth improvement.
Use the simple cyclic process shown below and you will make great progress.
Perfectionism kills growth by killing output
There is one sure-fire killer of creative output, and its name is perfection.
Perfection is something I battle with all the time, hence the systems I love so much. See also my “Perfection is a myth” post.
Set your acceptable quality standards then add a good contingency on top. Then get your work out there. The process shown above will help you to improve on it once it is out there.
What valuable output are you not putting out there because it isn’t “perfect” enough for you?
If you let perfection limit your output, then this leads to you limiting your growth.
You are limiting your ability to improve yourself and your work.
Feel the fear and GIOTA
Age, experience, and practice are making the mechanics of doing the tasks much easier for me.
Learning takes longer for me but is very much doable with effort and commitment.
In truth, I do find it very scary to get work out there sometimes. The fear can be intense.
Will you like it, appreciate it, disagree with it, hate it, ignore it or worst of all not read it at all?
I thought it would all get less scary as I got older. Sometimes the fears are old and sometimes they are new but there are always fears.
As my experience grows with age, I realise that we humans are complex creatures much of the time but, not all of the time.
I have a little personal mantra I use which I call GIOTA. I have a walk and a talk with myself and say, “Get It Out There Anyway.”
Decision made, I go back to my keyboard, have one last check then publish it.
I can always go back and improve it later if required.
The important thing is that I have created more output which leads to more growth.
Check out the excellent book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. It is an oldie but a goodie and I re-read it every few years or so. It helps.
Over to you to ensure your output leads to growth
Get your work or ideas out there.
Use a robust feedback process to improve and grow.
Start right now. What are you waiting for?
That is all for this one
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PPS Here is the audio version of this article if you would prefer to listen.