publishing unfinished work
March 18, 2020,
from chen's home office, quarantine:
many of my friends might be surprised to hear me say that, but i used to be a master procrastinator. like, big time. but i’ve found a solution. a REAL solution. and i’d like to share it with you here.
the big revelation
the solution came from an unexpected place.
as i was strolling around my usual Twitter strolls, i came across a Tweet that has changed my life and has deeply transformed the way i now think about the world.
it was a concept from John Gall’s excellent book, Systemantics:
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.
A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work.
let that sink in for a moment.
we are conditioned for perfectionism
think about how you make decisions in your own life.
how much perfectionism has hindered you from creating.
from fulfilling your true potential.
it’s not your fault actually. you were conditioned this way ever since you were born.
you cannot really submit a half-done exam to your teacher, can you? she will fail you right on the spot.
we are conditioned to be obedient cogs, rather than prolific creators and independent thinkers.
which is why embarking on a quest for radical independent thought and creativity is so non-trivial.
so, the solution to my procrastination problem became clear:
we MUST get used to, and be comfortable with publishing unfinished work.
if that sounds vague, let me be perfectly clear here.
by unfinished work - i mean: releasing basic, super-duper minimal work, in a way, that your output is almost a non-product.
releasing unfinished work
my decision and revelation was that i can release incomplete posts (and keep updating them as i go) and release unfinished products (and build them in public with my users).
i don’t have to film the perfect video - i can stream live and improve as i go.
i don’t have to write a whole book - i can write a tweet-storm and stitch together the parts that work best.
just imagine for a second, how wonderful and prosperous our world will be when more people embrace this concept and express themselves freely - by releasing unfinished work, and updating it as they go.
until next time,
p.s. Arvid Kahl expands more on the topic here.
i highly recommend consuming his work as well if it is your goal to become a prolific creator.