Success is achieved one cheap trick at a time.
What is a cheap trick? It is something juvenile, offensive, silly and embarrassing aimed at carrying you past resistance and into a state of done.
It takes years to find your cheap tricks and as far as I can tell they are different for everyone. Some more common ones include:
1. Self Bribery
Get to the last page and you get to go to Target and buy a new dress. Finish this last hour of a task and you get a candy bar. Do something incredibly hard this week and you can take next week off. Self-bribery is often frowned upon because it often contributes to stressed resources and bad habits. You don’t need a new dress because you have a lot already, and besides you spent every penny of your last paycheck. You don’t need the candy bar because you are watching your weight. A whole week off would spell disaster to your momentum.
But getting something for our efforts is a long-held tradition and should be respected, even if it stretches other areas of our lives. Is it better to finish and indulge or not finish at all and abstain?
2. Setting Timers
A timer is a witness. It’s a race. Set a timer for ten minutes and you know that the pain of execution can not last forever. It has a finite end. From an early age we have enjoyed the freedom of not having to choose when its time to be done, adults did that for us to nice effect. Timers are a cheap trick because they shouldn’t work, but they do.
3. Asking others to participate
Two friends sitting down to write may turn into a bitch and moan session about jobs, teachers, parents. But if both parties promise to stave off those delights for approximately one hour of focused, silent work in each other’s presence, they may turn a valuable corner on their project.
4. Public pressure
The public as you know it may not really care if you put out another video, as is evidenced by the half-dozen views on your previous videos. But the idea that someone out there may tune in is an added incentive against flakiness.
Leave your computer and phone at home. Drive to a coffee shop and hand your car keys to the guy behind the counter with instructions to keep them for two hours. Take out your legal pad and finally finish plotting the second act.
6. Unhealthy thinking
Create a mental list of your enemies. Those who looked at you askance when you spoke of your ideas. Those who warned you against pursuing them. Those who told you your ideas suck and aren’t original. Keep them in your mind and plan your revenge. Get good and angry. Get it done.
Speaking of. Anger can be one of the biggest motivators. We get frustrated over things every day. Anger and frustration, properly channeled are the gossamer of creativity. Sit down and create against your anger. Get riled up. Fix the problems and destroy the pain.
There are hundreds more cheap tricks out there and they are as varied as the fingerprints on a subway banister. Find your cheap tricks. Keep them in a tool belt and pull them out when ambition is low, emotions are high, bodies are tired and payoff seems uncertain.
How are things achieved? One cheap trick at a time.
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