My buddy Chris Dillow is the most inspirational tinkerer I know. I asked him, ‘How do you stay so curious?’ He told me:
Assume you can do anything.
1. We can do anything we put our minds to
Which made me wonder; what if we lived a life where we assumed we could do anything?
I think the default attitude we have in life is that we cannot do most things. We talk ourselves out of doing stuff before we even try.
- I’m too old to program, or learn how to code.
- I’m too old to pick up an instrument, or learn a new language.
- I’m not talented enough to paint, draw, or design.
- I wish I picked up photography sooner.
Why do we place these stupid restrictions on ourselves; and talk ourselves down— before we even try?
2. Become a modern day Renaissance person
My biggest inspiration as of late is Leonardo da Vinci. He did everything. He was a painter, an engineer, an artist, and a scientist. He studied botany, the human body, and everything and anything on planet earth.
He was the ultimate Renaissance person. He was curious about everything, and used his keen senses of observation to formulate his own theories. He drew thousands of sketches, and filled thousands of pages of his notebooks.
He assumed he could learn anything.
So can you.
3. Believe in yourself
Shift your thinking. Assume you can do anything, and everything.
Experiment more. Tinker more. Take more risks. Try out more things.
Never talk yourself down. Rather, over-estimate what you can do. Then you can push your limits, and achieve more in life.
You can do anything.
4. How you can learn to do anything
Be an autodictat; meaning, you automatically dictate learning to yourself. You learn for your own sake, without permission from anybody.
Some ways I teach myself to do stuff:
- Google: Search ‘how to do’ [x]
- Watch YouTube videos on how to do anything
- Don’t tell others what you’re working on, your dreams, or plans. Just do it.
- Try to keep it as simple as possible: I’m not seeking to be the best at something. Just ‘good enough.’
- Allow yourself to make shitty stuff: When I taught myself Garageband on the Mac to make beats/music— I gave myself permission to make shitty music. And it wasn’t half-bad.
- Keep tinkering: You will never become perfect— just keep tinkering, experimenting, and trying to be a bit better.
- Play like a kid: When a kid learns something on their own for the first time, they do it out of personal curiosity. And they do it for fun. For me, I never try to experiment and have fun on things I don’t like. So practically speaking, avoid what is boring to you — and only pursue what is personally interesting to you.
- Ask an expert: Ask an expert, ‘What 10% of the features of this program do I need to know, in order to get 90% of the work done?’
- When searching how to do things in Google, search for ‘common mistakes’ or ‘common misunderstandings.’ It is better to learn to avoid common pitfalls, mistakes, or errors— rather than ‘learning’ how to do it correctly.
- Seek elegant solutions: The simpler the solution to your problem or something you’re curious about, the better. If you want to learn Adobe Lightroom, keep it as simple as possible — same goes with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
- Use Apple products: I’m sorry for you non-Mac people (I know the computers are expensive) but the investment in a Mac is worth it just for the software. I’ve personally been creatively empowered to do anything on a Mac, because I have iBooks Author (to make ebooks super easy), I have Garageband (very easy), I have Keynote (better than Powerpoint). I also like IA Writer for writing, which is currently only available on the Mac (also on Android on the app store). If I gave anybody advice on computers, just get the cheapest 11’’ MacBook Air, or the cheapest Mac you can find — just to use and download the free bundled Apple software.
- Go on a walk: If you’re trying to learn something and you feel frustrated or you’re not making any progress, turn off your computer, or whatever tool, and just go on a walk. Often when I’m walking, I find out the solution or have new ideas. Or I just recline on the couch and take a nap. Or I go to the gym, and do a few chin-ups or deadlifts. Often not working on a problem actively is the best way to achieve creative breakthroughs.
- Assume you’re smarter than you think you are: Don’t talk down on yourself. Assume you are smarter than you actually are, and you will push your creative limits.
- Follow your gut: If you’re trying to learn something, and you really aren’t having fun, or you don’t have your heart in it— follow your gut, and know when to give up. There is no shame in giving up things you have no passion or heart for. Some people say to push past the initial discomfort, but I say screw it. Life is too short to work on things you don’t have your passion or soul in.
- Imagine yourself like a mad scientist: Put on your gloves, your goggles, and embrace your crazy hair. You’re here to experiment, try out new things, and tinker. Enjoy the process.