Juicy and Useful Tidbit

What does it mean to make?

Jun 06

I've been reading for the entire weekend to get myself back in the zone. I read a lot on how other successful makers got started and kept the flywheel moving.

There are a lot of neat resources on IndieHackers and Reddit. But I'd like to call attention to two super free ebooks - Starting and Sustaining by Garrett Dimon and Getting Real by Basecamp. Incredible generous of those folks giving out free values. Also a big shout-out to Josh Pigford from Baremetrics. His story is very inspiring.

Incidentally, I found one common message:

The only way to find out the answer to what you need to do is, to do the first thing that you come up with.

Whatever that may be, don't overthink it. Don't over analyze it. Just get the momentum going. Your future might not depend on what you choose to do, but it's always going to be the result of something that you found out in the process of doing.

The process of making puts you into the habit of action instead of just imagining.

I think going to school is a very good example. I've always hated schools. I don't know why, but I hated when I have to wake up the same time everyday to go to school to do something I've been told to do. I'd much prefer doing something based on my decision. But that wasn't an option. Or I never thought it was an option. So I sucked it up and went to school.

Thinking in hindsight, it was actually the action of going to school, and being there to do what I've been told to do, that I found what I'm really passionate about. School gave me the canvas to experiment.

I experimented with illustration. I experimented with publication design. I experimented with building sand castles. I experimented with making paper airplanes. I experimented with sports. I experimented with programming. I experimented with playing guitar and drums. I experimented with acting. I experiment with doing presentations and talking to people. I experimented with cooking. I experimented with metal and wood working. I experimented with writing. I've experimented a lot.

I really thought I was going to get a Computer Science degree. I loved programming, making software and creating websites. I learned HTML, PHP and Visual Basic on my own. I was settled on going to college for CS since my Middle School years. But eventually the course changed. I sucked at Mathematics and Physics so I opted for Industrial Design instead. How did I know if I could go down the creative path? I didn't, but I knew I'd enjoy it because I tried it a little bit here and there. I realized there's opportunity for me because of my experiments.

If I didn't go to school, I wouldn't have the resources to experiment. Without experiments, I wouldn't be able to make a decision on what to do next.

Here's another epiphany I had after a good long night's sleep. Making is really two fold:

  1. The process of making puts you into the habit of action instead of just imagining.
  2. The process of making also allows you to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

As you continue to make, you'll naturally improve and able to get to your destination sooner. You'll figure out your tools of choice and your capabilities, so that you can work faster and become more efficient.

It's a learning process really. A process to experiment. And when you treat it as a learning process, all else comes easier.

So I've been making the past few months. Each time refining my process until it becomes shorter to achieve the same result. I'm into games. I like to compete. And gamifying my process is really fun.

Anything that you do, don't give up going through the painful process. It's part of discovery. Start today. Experiment now.

P.S I've changed my mind. School was actually fun. Imagine where in your life as an adult can you experiment with so many different things in such a narrow timeframe? Probably none at all, especially when we become specialists at our jobs.

It's a pity really. We exchange a very narrow skill for money and then degrading the true nature of being a human - to make and improve.

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Hello, I'm Kevin Yang and I write about how to make progress in design, app development and business.

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