So one day you have an idea and you decide to make a thing.
Might be an app, movie, business, video game...
Might be a painting of your own willy, done entirely in toothpaste.
Now, you probably start with some good stats.
Maybe plus 10 creativity, plus 15 charisma, plus 20 self-esteem.
Well, that's grand.
You also have a map, showing the way to your thing.
Look, there it is. A straight line.
So off you trot, and everything is going great, only...
Okay, minor difficulties, because you don't actually know how to do your thing yet.
Obviously you need to learn to code, or write, or use a camera, or whatever.
I mean, okay. There is a small wiggle in the map, but so what?
When your project is done, which will be in like a month, it's going to be great.
You'll just work really hard. It's fine.
Oh, what? Here comes another hitch.
Maybe you're tired in the evenings when you get back from work and
you don't wanna spend all your time on your project, but that's okay.
Keep going, you'll be alright.
Nothing worth doing was ever easy, huh?
Oh, okay. Money trouble slash no time.
But don't worry, it's alright. And... I... Yes, sorry, that's -
[Minus 10 points determination]
But carry on, and... Okay, trouble at work.
Don't worry about it. You'll be alright.
[Minus 15 emotional resolve]
Hey, you can use all that sad energy to make something really brilliant.
[Plus 15 angst]
Yeah, screw the naysayers, screw mrs. Collins in year 5
and all that bullshit she said about your crappy work ethic.
Here comes the big time, captain.
It's just around the corner, hopefully.
All right. It's been months now and you haven't made much progress and...
Jesus Christ, does that line have a lot of wiggles in it. But just - you're going to be fine.
Remember that thing you're trying to finish. Whatever it was, it's going-
It's going to be great.
You're broke and you haven't seen your friends in weeks, but look:
you've started now, so you better bloody well finish.
Okay. There are a lot of problems with the project.
Coding is quite hard as it turns out, or
some days you just don't want to write, or
starting a business with very little money is extremely tiring.
Just hang in there, and- [Minus 20 determination]
[Minus 15 self-esteem]
[Minus 10 will to live]
Just keep working. It's all right.
(God, why did you even start this?) [Minus 10 self-esteem]
No, just shut up. Stop being so hard on yourself, idiot. You never do anything right.
[Minus 20 self-esteem.] God this is just so typical.
You're always chasing after stupid pipe dreams that'll never work. [Minus 30 self-esteem]
This is probably why dad never bought you that fucking Etch-a-sketch. [Minus 100 self-esteem]
And- oh... That's nice. It's a chance meeting with a friend who says some wise things.
They've been through hard times and they're still alive.
Keep going, they tell you. You'll be all right.
Plus 50 self-esteem.
That's ironed out a few kinks and
You're a little further along now.
It's funny, while the thing was only in your head, you didn't really imagine there would be any problems.
Who would have thought coding or an app or starting a business
or making a documentary would be so difficult.
Well, you know all about that now.
Plus 20 wisdom
Of course there was going to be resistance.
Of course people were going to tell you it's impossible.
Well, you'll show them and boy are people going to love this shit when you're done.
Everything is going to be alright after all.
Maybe good things do happen.
Maybe everything is going to turn out fantastically.
Maybe you're going to live in a mansion and spend all day eating Cadbury's creme eggs
and watching Amelie over and over.
Maybe CrossFit is actually good for you.
And maybe- [skeptical comments from friends and family]
[Minus 50 determination]
Oh it's fine. What do they know? [No funding slash money]
[Minus 50 determination]
Hang in there. It's okay. This thing is going to be great.
Carry on and maintain your resolve. What's the wors-
(God. Am I secretly an idiot for believing in my own ambition?)
[Minus 50 resistance to mockery]
(Maybe everything Mrs. Collins said in year five was true.)
[Minus 500 self-esteem]
But- Oh, thank god. Just a little further now.
Look how far you've come. You're home and dry.
The manuscript is almost finished.
Or the documentary is almost shot.
Or the business is almost set up
and the toothpaste is perfectly aligned.
All that effort is going to pay off and everything is going to be fine.
And only a few more steps. My god, if you'd only know what you're getting into.
But surely it can't get any worse.
Surely this is the final hurdle and just a few steps away is...
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! FUCK!
Oh and here comes a health crisis: bout of weight gain.
Your family expects you to settle down already.
Other friends having good jobs.
No energy. No fun. No money. And the undeniable sense that you're wasting your time.
The map is fucked! You should have gone to law school.
You're in over your head. The whole world is waiting for you to fail.
It's all been done before. There are no new ideas.
Move to the woods, eat rice and die alone.
My god you're getting older. No one will give a damn when you're finished with this.
And how did you get into this mess and why try anything when it's doomed to fail?
What does fun feel like again? What does having free time feel like again?
*Crash cymbals intensifies* Did Tony Robbins lie about everything?
And one day, unexpectedly, you wake up to find, in spite of all the odds
that your project is indeed finished.
And maybe it was good and successful, or maybe people said mean things
but you learned a shitload in the process.
And you know now that in order to shit fire, one must first chew glass.
That has been the prerequisite for almost all great art, and endeavour and invention.
All of the great writers, scientists, pioneers, entrepreneurs and generally decent humans
had a hard time doing stuff.
They hated their work, doubted themselves, lost friends, made enemies, spent years broke.
But the single common theme is they may have screwed up a few times.
Usually a lot.
But they always kept their eye on whatever it was they wanted to finish.
And when that thing was finished, they went on to the next project.
That appears to be how the game works.
Or... Okay, to put it another way...
Projects are hard, self-doubt isn't clever,
so make lots of stuff before you're dead forever.