(Passing along some advice I just gave in a conversation.)
I may or may not have mentioned before that the only necessary part of a business, war, political movement, etc. is sales. You can put eudaimonia in a bottle and never move a unit if you don’t have sales, but if you have sales and nothing else you can get people to pay you for eye contact. However, you need a second thing to consistently operate at a profit: the ability to estimate value and cost. In clearer, more pedestrian terms, I’m talking about realistic expectations.
Unrealistic expectations are a reliable tell for impostors. People who have done shit know how to estimate time and cost. When Elon Musk says he worked 20-hour days or whatever, I know he’s lying. For what purpose, we could speculate, but I’ve tried what he’s claiming and I know what happens.
Most people have impostor syndrome because most people are impostors. 80/20 rule, QED. In creative professions, use Price’s Law. In other words, 80% of creative professionals are impostors and another 19% are competent but not net contributors. It’s fine to go along with non-contributors to get along and I’m not saying to defoo anybody in the 80%, but when it comes time to build something real then you have to narrow your attention to the 1% of people who put in more than they take out. Think of compound interest or a chemical chain reaction. This is absolutely necessary to accomplish anything serious.
You have to be ruthless about where your 2-4 productive hours per day go. When deciding who and what to trust for guidance during that time, practice absolute cynicism. It’s great to enjoy daydreams and cultural myths outside of that time, but turn it all off when it comes time to go from A to B. When it’s crunch time remember that everything is shit and you’re a waste management engineer. Or as my old surgeon roommate put it, “When you’re doing surgery it’s not a person, you’re just fixing a machine made of wet stuff.”
I found this to be super funny.
>When it’s crunch time remember that everything is shit and you’re a waste management engineer.
this is a useful parable for neurotics. it lets disgust keep perfectionism at bay.