How You Can Become So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Header Image by Davids Kokainis

Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives.

The world needs more creators, not consumers.

We have come this far because a few bold innovators and creators chose to create, build, make, do, or start something.

In “Body of Work: Finding the Thread that Ties Your Career Together Pamela Slim writes, “We are made to create. We feel useful when we create. We release our ‘stuckness’ when we create. We reinvent our lives, tell new stories, and rebuild communities when we create. We reclaim our esteem, our muse, and our hope when we create.”

You can persuade almost anyone, with anything, if you persistently share your body of work, and don’t go away.

When asked for advice, comedian Steve Martin once said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

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If you stay prolific, your efforts will pay off!

Prolific”: Someone or something that is prolific is fruitful or highly productive. A prolific songwriter can churn out five hit tunes before breakfast. (via vocabulary.com)

Repetition is persuasion.

No one owes you a great career. You need to earn it but the process won’t be easy.

Share generously and you will reap abundantly.

Whatever you care deeply about and whatever you do — be prolific.

Do it as much as you can and don’t stop.

And most importantly, don’t forget to launch, ship, or hit publish.

The key to unlocking your most prolific self lies in consistency of action.

Success will meet you because you keep going.

If you want to be noticed for all the right reasons by not just your spouse or friends, come up with a lot of ideas and focus on sharing them with the world.

They don’t have to be good.

In fact, you will suck in the beginning, but it’s okay.

Your goal should be progress and improvement not perfection.

Jump in with both feet.

Establish a daily creative routine and keep delivering your best work.

Plus, creating every day has so many benefits, it’s the absolute core of leading a creatively rewarding life. It’s almost magical.

Just show up and share your work! You can’t be truly prolific when you hesitate.

You might not know enough…but teach anyway. You might not see clearly enough…but make a move anyway. You might not be good enough…but show your work anyway.

Life is too short to hesitate.

Creating consistently will improve your craft, and it will definitely push you towards traction and attraction.

Cal Newport says “Until you become good, you don’t have leverage.”

In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal encourages us to embrace the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”). He writes:

You shouldn’t just envy the craftsman mindset, you should emulate it. In other words, I am suggesting that you put aside the question of whether your job is your true passion, and instead turn your focus toward becoming so good they can’t ignore you. That is, regardless of what you do for a living, approach your work like a true performer.

In any career pursuit, it pays to give it all you’ve got, and stay consistent.

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Train your skill like an athlete, artist, musician, or chess player!

Identify a clear, specific stretch goal based on something that you’re not quite able to do yet, and push yourself beyond your comfort zone to get there.

That’s the most important thing to remember when you start showing up and begin to share your authentic work.

And don’t expect a sudden breakthrough.

A good career mission is similar to a scientific breakthrough. It takes a lot of consistent experiments to get to that all important discovery.

The world’s best writers, creatives and innovators — are hugely prolific and productive people. They’re not afraid to get their work in front of people and they’re willing to adapt and change.

Think Thomas Edison. He accumulated a mind-boggling 2,300 patents over his lifetime. He said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” Edison was a prolific inventor.

Prolific artists make messy sketches.

Don’t wait for inspiration.

If you wait until, you get inspired, you will never get anything done.

You don’t have to be perfect to start anything. It doesn’t really matter how good you are when you start.

What matters is whether or not you’re consistent and improving your craft. Focus on cumulative output.

Indecision is the enemy of great work. Stop thinking so much and just do it.

The Making of an Expert

I’m a huge fan of deliberate and purposeful practice.

It’s the only way to move from good to great.

Don’t look at your life’s work as a must, an obligation, or as pressure.

Just do it and enjoy the process. If you do this, it will grow and stretch and challenge you as a creator or an artist.

True creative geniuses are always honing their crafts, looking to learn more, improve new releases or give a better performance.

When you work towards continued improvement, you set yourself up for greatness. I hope you attempt to be more prolific with your work. It has tremendous pay-off.

Leave behind everyone else’s definitions and expectations and focus on what you want to do and share. Ignore conventional wisdom and deliver your gut.

Picasso made 50,000 works of art in his life. Mozart composed over 600 pieces in his lifetime. Charles Schulzmade 17,897 Charlie Brown strips before he died.

Many great writers and artists create their master works, and then are done. Others, are more prolific throughout their productive years.

Being prolific brings out the best in you but it’s not a requirement to to be an artist. Through practice and vulnerability, the creative genuis in you will be revealed.

Is being prolific a requirement for being creative? No, not at all.

Many great writers and artists create their master works, and then are done. Others, are more prolific.

Hone your craft through unrelenting practice.

Prof. Dean Simonton, a psychologist who’s spent many years studying creative productivity, discovered two things about highly creative people.

  1. they’re woefully bad at knowing when their own work is going to be a hit or a miss
  2. Their capacity for productivity that makes them original, not their innate talent.

Simonton writes, “On average, creative geniuses aren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers, they simply produce a greater volume of work which gives them more variation and a higher chance of originality.”

Prolific people are good at creating thought bridges, subconscious connections and unexpected integrations between (seemingly) unrelated ideas.

The daily practice makes it easy for them to automatically notice natural relationships and structures in their work.

Hence, their creative efforts are more productively deployed everyday.

The world needs you to contribute.

Build things.

Share your authenticity.

We need employees who invent things.

Writers who inform and educate the rest of us with their creative work.

Show your work, everyday, if you can!

Thomas Oppong is the founder of AllTopStartups and writes on science-based answers to problems in life about creativity, productivity, and self-improvement.