After spending a bit of time making an outline for this blog post in my bullet journal, I started to doubt what I was planning on writing. Whether it was that some of it was counter intuitive to what I stated before, or some of it made the question itself obsolete.
Then I realized that is what this is about.
How do I know if I am on the right track? I don’t. I’ll probably never 100% know if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. And that itself is scary.
So how can I ease some of that awful mindset and have confidence in my choices?
Look For Results But Don’t Expect Results
The first couple posts I made on my blog, I had doubted very hard. In some regard, I still do. They don’t have a lot of attention, maybe a handful of people saw them, and to me that’s still something to be proud of.
But it made me feel like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. Why didn’t these posts get more attention? I knew I didn’t have an audience and but I was still stuck on what to do.
However, I felt like I hadn’t done enough to determine whether what I had been doing was wrong or not.
So I kept going and had my first semi-popular post get high up on Medium. My post called “What Is The Anchoring Effect?” had me waking up in a wide eyed shock when I saw I had over 100 claps from overnight.
I thought I had finally done something right and decided, some people liked it so maybe that’s a good sign.
The post went on to gain more traction, eventually stalling out at currently 1.6k claps. But that post, even though it’s over now, helped me immensely. Not just with giving me hundreds of followers and landing me top writer in Psychology for a while on Medium. But it gave me confidence that I was making the right choices, thus far.
However, had that not gotten popular, what would I have done?
I’d like to say I would have still continued up to this point and I do believe I would have. But I can only doubt how I might have seen some of my posts, considering like most people, I can have some pretty harsh self-doubt.
To keep my track steady, I may have looked for results, but only as reassurance. Don’t expect results, because maybe what you are doing isn’t something that will automatically gain tremendous results, even if it is near perfect.
Be Fine With Making Wrong Choices
In hockey, they teach you how to fall down. They don’t try and teach you how to avoid it, because that’s what you’re most likely going to be doing. But for the times when you have no other options, learning to fall is the most important.
Everything is a learning process, everyone knows that. So why would you require yourself with the need to be perfect from the beginning?
Making the wrong choices is one step closer to making the right choices.
In a way, a right choice can be right, but a wrong choice can still be right.
It’s like a hurdle that is required to be in the way, because getting over it is part of the course. If we expect it to be easy and have no hurdles or dips in our path, why hasn’t everyone lived perfect lives with ample amounts of money?
No matter how big a wrong choice may be, no matter how irreversible, you will still gain something from it, coming out with a new perspective due to that particular choice.
I’ve never liked wrong decisions because they made me feel stupid. I should have known better not to do that particular action or say that particular comment. But should I have known better? I decided beforehand to do or say it, only after would I know what one of the actions lead to.
You might feel like you’re always making the right decision and the wrong ones feel incredibly obvious afterward. But how do you know that’s not just you wising up from making the first wrong decision?
Compare Your Work To Others
I don’t mean compare in a harsh way and say, “oh I did that wrong” but instead, looking for what you can take away.
It’s not about looking at flaws in what you have made, but about taking in what others have done that might shed light on how you should recreate yours.
I write a lot of Psychology and Self-Awareness posts, and that’s mostly because that’s what I read. I – somewhat – know how to think like those who have written similarly titled posts, because I’ve been a part of it for so long.
If you are involved in a creative process and are making something that you don’t enjoy making, and even worse, research feels more like a chore than involving yourself with others work, then you might have a bigger problem in earlier choices.
The research into other content creators – or whatever the title is of what you are doing – should feel more like swapping as an audience, and a creator back and forth. Like listening to a lecture, coming up with your own points, and going up to do your own lecture.
In a way, blogging is like a community of threads leading into different discussions. You can go to certain topics and see what everyone has to say about that one particular thing.
If you just enjoy being the audience or just the lecturer, you can’t necessarily better yourself.
If you don’t swap shoes to see things in different perspectives, you might be blinded and unable to see how it really is.
You should be excited to be both roles. Especially if you are passionate and already know a bit about the topic you are diving into.
Because in the same regard, making sure you are on the right track, it should be obvious that you should do what you look forward to doing.
Do what makes you feel accomplished at the end and look back at what you did having positive thoughts on what you made and not thoughts about how much work that was and how much it sucked.
You need that back-feeling. You need to have some sort of takeaway in whatever it is you are trying to better yourself at. Almost every time you do it, you should feel good that you did it, not bad because it sucked.
Look for something that isn’t a black hole of your time and doesn’t make you feel like you have just wasted it. In that regard, being on the right track is simply a state of mind and how you see things.
I can tell you this much, don’t try in something you aren’t willing to do what needs to be done to succeed. It might be hard to tell if you are doing the right thing, results might not be immediate. But if you feel like you are enjoying what you are doing, that should be proof enough that you are on the right path.