How to Work on Something When You Have No Audience

This Week’s BIG Idea

I often think about how to remain consistent when you get nothing in return, how to keep doing what you like when there’s no feedback, and how you get the motivation to do something when you’re essentially doing it for yourself. How do you grow an audience when you start with nothing? These might look like inoffensive questions, but there’s a lot to unpack and discuss. I’ll do my best to keep this brief.

As of this writing, few people know about my website. This makes a lot of sense: I don’t post on social media, I’m not actively sharing my work outside this newsletter, and I haven’t told anyone about it. When it comes to promoting my website, I’m relying solely on Google, and ranking well on the search engine takes time. That said, how can you be interested in what you do when you pour your heart into it and nobody knows about it?

First, you have to do it for yourself rather than others. Even if your ultimate goal involves helping others, focusing on yourself first means you’re learning the craft as you go. You’re working on the 10,000 hours of required practice to achieve mastery. This is something I discussed in my previous newsletter after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.

The other point I wanted to touch upon is the idea of “journey before destination”. We have a tendency to postpone happiness: “when I save enough money, I’ll do this” or “when I have thousands of visits a day, I’ll be more than satisfied”. But life shouldn’t be about choosing a goalpost for the future. Life’s about enjoying the right here, right now. In other words, it’s all about the process. By enjoying the process, you can find fulfillment now rather than later and you can sustain that happiness over time rather than attaching it to a one-time event.

You can’t postpone happiness. You can’t mark a date on your calendar and say “on this day, I’ll be happy”. Happiness should be part of your routine. By creating a series of habits you enjoy on a regular basis, you’re essentially conditioning yourself to be fulfilled. On top of that, most people have a tendency to constantly move the goalpost. So even if you’re close to the original goal, you decide that’s not enough and you change it once again.

Finally, I think a crucial part involves creating a system that works and that you can rely on. By doing so, you can trust the system even when you’re tired, frustrated, and when you’re not getting any attention. This is something that author James Clear discusses in the book Atomic Habits, where he says that it shouldn’t be about the goals, but about the systems instead.

Going back to the first question: how do you deal with doing something you love when you have no audience? You use what you’re working on as an excuse to practice and perfect the craft, you focus on the journey rather than the destination, and you create a system that you rely on and can get you through the tough days.

What I’m Working on

For the past few days, I’ve been reading The Bullet Journal Method, which explains how a Bullet Journal works. I took my time with this book because I’ll start implementing its principles in my own Bullet Journal soon. I’m essentially using what I read from the book, as well as taking ideas from YouTube videos to come up with a system that works for me, so we’ll see what I end up using. I will share more thoughts on this topic soon, as well as a link to my summary.

What I’m Listening to

In this episode of the Daily Stoic podcast, Ryan Holiday interviews Ali Abdaal. In the podcast, they discuss a variety of topics including productivity, success, and organizing life. There’s one particular moment that I kept thinking about long after I finished listening to the podcast which is the idea that you can outsource many things, but you should never outsource the things you love the most. This means if you’re a writer, you should never outsource writing or if you’re a musician, you should never outsource making music. This makes a lot of sense, but I’ve never thought about it before: what’s the point of starting a business if you’re going to outsource the thing you love the most about it?

What I’m Reading

  • The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe: I’ve been meaning to read a book about meditation for some time. Although I’ve read meditation guides before, I’ve always wanted to read something more thorough than “close your eyes and try not to think about anything for ten minutes”. I know there’s more to meditation than this and Andy Puddicombe has been at the forefront of meditation for many years. In this guide, Puddicombe explains how anyone can implement this practice on a day-to-day basis to have a better life.
  • Chrono Trigger by Michael P. Williams (Boss Fight Books): I recently finished reading EarthBound by Boss Fight Books. For the uninitiated, this is a publisher that released a series of documentary-style books about classic games. Unlike EarthBound, which I have never played before, I have some experience with Chrono Trigger. I liked reading the book about EarthBound, but it was a memoir and I was expecting something more informational. Chrono Trigger seems to be exactly what I was expecting and while I just started reading it, I’m completely hooked. As a side note, something I really like about these books is that they are relatively short so you can finish them in a few sittings. Even if you don’t like the game being discussed, you can always read it quickly and move on to the next book in the series.

What I’m Watching

Ryan Holiday, someone I’ve been following for some time and one of my favorite writers, just released a new book titled Discipline Is Destiny. My idea is to start reading the book as soon as possible, but I also want to go back to some of Holiday’s previous books. To commemorate the release of Discipline is Destiny, the author released a new video where he shows part of the process.

This Week’s Quote

“What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Marcus Aurelius

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