How often do you think about your work: “oh, this just isn’t good enough?” How do you deal with it? Simon Cade from DSLR Guide talks about this problem in the latest video on the channel. He talks about that brilliant moment of inspiration when the ideas just flow and the inspiration is at its peak. No matter if you are a photographer, filmmaker or writer – those moments happen. But his theory is that, before and after every great idea, someone’s got to say “that’s still not good enough.” And when your inner-self says it, what should you do?
Simon believes its’ the discontentment is that drives creativity, not the magical moments of inspiration I mentioned above. He calls it modified perfectionism, when a person “refuses to accept almost anything short of near perfection.” And I agree with that claim. I think that feeling you’re not good enough is what makes you push forward and become better in what you do. But unfortunately, this can become a huge trap, not only for our work, but for our personal life as well.
Because of this modified perfectionism, we begin to think our work is never good enough; we see all the flaws and find it hard to publish what we make. It affects different areas of life: it makes it hard to respect deadlines, and makes work-life balance difficult to keep. It gets hard for us to accept compliments, but we only listen to critiques. But why don’t we just accept the ideas we have, go with the flow, do the minimum of work, take no risks and accept the jobs that don’t require us to overcome ourselves? Well, that’s another trap.
If you don’t challenge yourself and instead always take the easy way out, it slows the progress. It makes you numb, and while it seems easier, it doesn’t do you a favor in the long run. Simon gives a great example talking about the stories we write, and you can also think about the books we read. They need the conflict to be interesting to the readers, so why would the writers avoid this conflict in their workflow? It is scary, stressful, and difficult – but you need to challenge yourself and tell yourself you can do better so that you actually do it better. Simon calls it constructive pessimism, and I find it really descriptive. Oh, but wait, don’t we fall in the first trap this way? No, if we find the balance.
There are two examples in the video, proving that both contentment and discontentment with something could drive you away from doing it. But according to Simon, discontentment is what can push you forward, but you need to know how to use it to your advantage.
What you shouldn’t do is give up when things get tough. Of course, you can do it with a silly smartphone game and irrelevant things in everyday life. But when you find flaws and difficulties in the work you love, you shouldn’t quit. Instead of saying “that’ll do,” find those flaws. And once you find them, turn them into something good. Have in mind that “all this discontentment and self-doubt don’t mean you should quit, but they mean you’re onto something.”
To recap, we all feel insufficient and insecure from time to time. I can relate to Simon’s video so much, as I’ve been in the phase like this for a while now. We all think “this isn’t good enough,” but the options shouldn’t be to either settle for this “not good enough,” or give up completely. Instead, let’s have the third option. Let’s allow our insecurities to bring us out of the comfort zone, push our limits and learn new things. It’s scary as hell – but at the end, it’s rewarding and priceless.
[Why Artists Are Never Happy | DSLR Guide]