In the past several months, I’ve become aware of a rising undercurrent of panic, stress, and anxiety. It permeates through the entire population, regardless of wealth or health— and this is especially evident in the professional and entrepreneurial circles. Myself included.
In 1905, at the age of 26, Einstein published four trailblazing papers that still define how we think about physics today: Photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, Special relativity, and the relation of mass and energy (E = mc2).
Although we can’t all be Einstein, what is interesting about his life (and how that applies to us mere mortals) is that he seems to have reached peak creativity pretty early on in his life.
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As entrepreneurs and working professionals, you know it’s hard to find time for personal and passion projects. Even the ones you know would make a significant impact on your life or career.
This especially applies to those of us with family and other responsibilities. I am now a one year fatherhood veteran, and we are in the throes of insomnia, “Will She Eat It?” and “Don’t Touch That!”. Free time is a luxury we have lucid dreams of, while riding the fine line between Advil and caffeine.
Almost everything we are exposed to in our daily lives (at least in the western world), is engineered to keep us consuming. From YouTube and Netflix binges to loyalty programs and addictive fast foods. It becomes very easy to slip into a consumer coma. It is also one of the most dangerous things you can do.
Earlier this year, I started “urban sketching”. Going out for a stroll in interesting neighbourhoods, and sitting down to draw and paint whatever captures my attention. It only takes about 15 minutes to finish a sketch — and in that time, there is nothing else. I’m able to be fully present, notice small details and movements, and completely let go of any anxieties and worries I may have.
I come back from my sketch-walks rejuvenated, often with new content and business ideas. It’s like having a happiness stimulus package delivered right into the brain — elevating mood, reducing stress and boosting creativity (without the political consequences :).
I’ve been a terrible marketer.
One of the most important elements of building a platform, and creating deep relationships with your community is to create valuable content. Consistently.
Well, I’ve been slacking. I haven’t posted a new article for over 4 months now, and my “publishing anxiety” level finally met my procrastination level.
The problem wasn’t that I had writer’s block, or that I somehow became illiterate since then. The problem was that I didn’t feel confident about my writing, and how that writing would serve my greater purpose.
So, I went back to the cave (newly renovated home office), and dug in. Fuelled by copious amounts of caffeine, lack of sleep and a driving desire to deliver value for my readers and listeners — I came up with a solution. And I’d like share it with you.
Looming deadlines. Never-ending to do lists. Being creative on-demand. Dealing with constant change as well as an overflowing inbox. This is reality for most marketers and entrepreneurs.
It’s also the cause of burnout, fatigue and anxiety. This is why good ideas die before they see the light of day. Our minds are too busy dealing with these stressors, to muster enough power for creative thought and meaningful action.
I don’t talk about it much, but I often battle anxiety, fear and melancholia even after 8 years of running a pretty successful business. Just two weeks ago, we had another bout.