11. Make Something, become Bold, and, most Importantly, “Give yourself Permission to Suck”

Let’s grant ourselves permission to begin:

Opening Quote:

I’m frightened all the time. But I never let it stop me. Never!

Georgia O’Keeffe

This is referring to David creating his Blog,

“Without [my first, terrible post] post, I never would have written the next post, or the post after that, or the post after that.”

“All of us who do creative work…we get into it because we have good taste…. But there’s a gap – that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good…. But your taste – the thing that got you into the game – your taste is still killer.” Ira Glass

Ira Glass

“In my mind, I had pictured that I would build a blog step by step, but instead I

chose to “barf [it] out and clean it up later.”


“Throughout this third and final section of the book, we’ve talked about many ways that we fool ourselves into not starting.

  • We dream of building a fortress when we should be starting with a cottage.
  • We fool ourselves into procrastinating by exaggerating how much time we really need.
  • We create mental blocks by imagining our work will follow a linear progression.

There is one final way that we prevent ourselves from starting, and it’s the strongest and most dangerous force of all. It’s perfectionism.


Beat Perfectionism

Perfectionism is dangerous because perfectionism is a real “humble-brag” of a quality.

“Oftentimes, perfectionism is what keeps us from getting started. As our ego cradles us in the warm blanket of our high standards, days and years melt by. We get ever closer to dying with our art still inside us.”

If we never get started, we never get good, and you can’t get good without first being bad. To overcome perfectionism and get started, you need to accept that your first attempts will not be up to your standards. You have to give yourself Permission to Suck.

You use that first piece as a starting point to build the next piece.

“My first blog post sucked. My next blog post sucked. I have written dozens and dozens of sucky blog posts, and I can only hope that I will continue to do work that sucks until the day I die. Because..

it’s in the process of doing that bad work that the good work comes out.”

I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit

Ernest Hemingway

Beat Perfectionism Again, and Again, and Again..

“Fighting perfectionism to finally get started is an ongoing battle.”

“If you’re just thinking about doing a podcast for four years, you’re not able to improve the podcast, you’re not able to see what topics people like…. You don’t know any of those things until you make it.”

Laura Roeder

“Part of what makes giving yourself Permission to Suck so powerful is the way that it uses your own perfectionism to your advantage. When you start off with bad work, the very fact that you started propels you to do better work.”

The next Chapter: 12 Motivational Judo

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