Feck Perfuction: Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life
Author → James Victore, 2019
Amazon links → Print, Kindle, Audiobook
The book tackles many of the common challenges that myself and I'm sure many creative-types deal with every day. The author encourages to look inward rather than outward. Finding and trusting your own voice to guide yourself. Being the best you can be. Taking your life into your hands and being brave enough to try for it.
Themes: Having a voice, being unafraid to be yourself. If you like something, there's a good chance others will like it too.
My Reading Notes
Be your authentic-self, and be proud of it. Remember the things that made you weird as a kid? Remember how at such a young age, you were unashamed to be whatever it was you were? Well, those are the cues that have made you who are you are today. Those are the source of your character and creative powers today. Have the courage to embrace your weirdness, those are the things that make you unique and irreplaceable.
Your voice is your most powerful tool. Your voice is the story you put into everything you do. That’s what set you apart and makes you and your work memorable. It frees you from following trends or begging for ideas. Now your most powerful tool is asking yourself, what do I have to say?
What interests you, interests others. The more vulnerable and authentic you can be in expressing your opinion, what is most personal to you is the very thing that, if you risk expressing it, will speak volumes to others. The hardest part is to trust that your story and opinions have value.
Understand that you're not always going to fit in. Understand your gifts and believe in your creative potential. Don’t contour yourself to fit into a box or square cubicle. The world has enough safe, dull crap.
Because of our reluctance to accept the hard lessons of failure, most of us fail even bigger and don’t even know it. We slip into a mediocre life. The path to success is marked by failure. If you’re not falling, you’re not skiing. Freedom is something to take.
On its surface, perfectionism seems like it would be a professional advantage. But really, it hits the brakes more often than the gas. Perfectionism stops you from starting projects, or even relationships, because you were not ready. It stops you from finishing projects because they are never quite right.
Should you strive for excellence and pay attention to the details? Of course, but never let perfection halt progress. Do you know what’s better than perfect? Done. Done is better than perfect. Don’t think, don’t rationalize. Just do. Start and don’t stop, because momentum is your friend. Begin before you’re ready. Ready, fire, aim.
Movement is the key. Keep inventing, keep making, keep imaging your future. Make your life happen by acting on it. Once you start, don't stop. Momentum is everything. Ruts are really hard to get out of. Success goes to those who keep moving, to those who can practice, make mistakes, fail, and still progress. It all adds up.
The struggle is everything. If you focus on the reward, you’ll never be happy. Focusing on the reward means not focusing on the work. For great artists and designers, the process of creation is the reward. Learn to enjoy the struggle the reward will take care of itself.
Down your career, pause, check your progress, realign your priorities by a few important and difficult questions. Are you following your passion? Do you have time for friends and family? Time for spiritual and mental nourishment? Is your work a service to others? Is your work emotionally fulfilling?
Set your own terms for success is how you form a purpose driven life. Don’t surrender the pursuit of happiness to Perdue a paycheck. Along the way to your own version of success, choose love and choose you. Assume success. Success isn’t a dot on your life line that you hit at age 40 or 65, before retiring or dying.
Success is a conscious choice to feel successful that you breathe into your character. Don’t wait for success to saunter into your life; there is no papal anointment our secret handshake. Make the choice. It’s a done deal. Congrats. Welcome to the club.
Have a plan. You can’t score without a goal. What’s your true north? Knowing it helps define what is and what isn’t you. More than anything, your plan is a vision of who you can be and an acceptance of the idea that you are worthy of a beautiful and meaningful life. Have a plan. And when you achieve, don’t forget to re-up it.
No one gives you freedom. It is not earned or doled out overtime. You take it, through bold and brave moves. Freedom is a leap. It’s taking the jump and believing that you’ll land safely, or at least won’t die. It’s the reward for putting faith in your voice and yourself. The only person qualified to give you your freedom is you.
The first rule of business. Without fun, there is no commitment, no enthusiasm or energy for the hard work ahead. Fun is knowing how to play and incorporating joy and wonder into your work. It means being open to mistakes as innovation and reminds us that we don’t have to work, we love to work.
If you love what you do and have fun with it, that feeling translates to your customers. We are moved by people who put personality into their service, and take our business away from those who do not. Going into business or following a career does not mean that you have to leave behind joy and play, it means you now get paid for it.
Do one thing and do it well. Consistency is where most people fall off the wagon. Love the game, focus, and follow through. You need all three for growth. If you skip one, the process falls apart. If you don’t love what you’re doing, following through is difficult. If you can’t pay attention and be consistent, don’t fall in love.
The search for comfort and desirability rarely yields the desired fruit. We have entertainment but emotionally we feel empty. We only other’s creativity but put off developing our own. The search for meaning is replaced by shopping in the internet.
Choose a goal not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Hard work, such as the struggle to find a fulfilling job, benefits our souls and forms the core of our grit, fortitude and character. This is the hard work of self discovery. Those who risk comfort and safety for a chance at beauty and meaning have the potential to attain more and actually do.
Learn to say no. When you say no, you hold the line for self-respect. If we can’t learn to say no, we lose our personal time and self respect. We end up angry and resentful of our job our loved ones, because of a lousy habit of saying yes.
Don’t chase money. We want creative freedom and agile lives, but we attach ourselves to things that restrict our movement. We make our career decisions based on our fear of poverty or what others will think. Left with no elbow room to seek or creative potential, we give up on our dreams because we have “bills to pay”.
If you want more in your life, you may have to accept less. Accepting less clutter and meaningless stuff. Less debt, less greed, and less craving. Your happiness shouldn’t teeter on a bank ledger or any source other than acceptance of who you are.
Taking on work for for money (instead of creative opportunity, growth, or play) is a bad habit that leads to a bad portfolio. Crap work begets more crap work. Making choices about your creative career based on your fear of poverty is not only shortsighted, but shows a complete lack of faith in your creativity. Trust the bigger picture, Follow your gut, follow your instincts, and follow your interests. Let money follow you.
Focus / habits
Kill your phones. Screens demand our attention, leaving us no room for solitude or deep thought. These devices have made it too easy for us to get sidetracked from the meaningful experiences of our lives. This is a technology problem and an addiction problem.
As with any addiction, we need to take charge of it in order to stay committed and reach our goals. Craft takes concentration, excellence takes time. To be serious about our work, we must be conscious of the time we spend on ourselves versus on screens.
Where your attention goes, you go. If you focus on your flaws, they’ll flourish right in front of you. Your work will pales in comparison to others’. If you look for trouble, you’ll find it; and the critic will always be right.
Most of us have held on too tightly to repeated patterns in our lives. Addictions that don’t serve us and routines that keep us down. We know what actions lead to finding ourselves right back to where we started, surrounded by bad influences and bad habits, frustrated and defeated again. Take an inventory. Pick and choose which habits to keep and which to ditch.
Start forming new habits that will shape your professional practices, and gain a positive attitude and perspective about who you are and where you need to go–not where your unconscious acts and thoughts take you.
Confidence is not something we are born with. For most of us, it’s not easy. But having confidence can be as simple as being in the moment and acting with intention, not distracted by second thoughts or being in your head. It means excepting the self doubt and fear that tend to run and ruin our lives. Confidence gives us the freedom to ask for help, to ask for more, and to ask for what we deserve. Confidence makes us attractive to friends and clients. It gains trust and even inspires confidence in others.
Judging yourself is a waste of your time and energy. To kill the constant, nagging thoughts of failure, we have to be defiant and take command of our lives and our choices. We have to focus on love and gratitude toward our selves. We have to focus on our gifts and talents. Kill the critic and get back to work.
Stop deprecating all over yourself. We pre-shit on ourselves so others won’t. Self-deprecation is healthy when it means being humble or witty, but continually calling yourself a loser become self-sabotage. You ruin the experience of yourself for others.
You can’t expect greatness from others when all you express is your confusion and pain. Lead by example, see yourself reflected in others, and be responsible for your actions and your legacy.
The problem with repeating negative mantras to yourself is that you start to believe them. Then others believe them. Watch your words.
No one is actually courageous without an equal does of cowardice charging through them. You can be brave and scared at the same time. Bravery puts you into the game; fear keeps you from doing something really stupid.
The secret of the universe is that no one knows shit. No one has the right answer, because no one has your answer. We seek answers in books and seminars, we look for guidance from teachers, heroes, gurus, and even the internet. We’ve gotten so used to looking around that we’ve topped looking inside.
The idea is to be conscious of the mistakes we make, apologize to ourselves immediately, and move on, improved from the experience. Mistakes, accidents, and crappy days are part of the process.
These days it has become easy and fashionable to crowdsource our opinions. We always know the right answer, but we fail to trust ourselves and instead subcontract to strangers. Unless we exercise our instincts, we will never learn to trust them.
The beginning of trusting yourself is merely understanding that your thoughts are in your head for a purpose. They matter and they are valid. Listen to your own opinions, rather than the nagging echoes of fearful friends and family.
Where your thoughts go, you go. It takes faith in yourself and your abilities to see these thoughts as the imposters they are. When the fog of doubt is cleared, the imposters banished, we can begin to see more clearly our true nature and instincts. Then, with little faith in yourself, you can raise your sights, look up from the abyss of failure, ad take the next step. Then the one after that.
Trusting yourself gives you the faith that people will hear your message, be inspired by your cause, and rise to your challenge. Your body knows, your instincts know, your impulses are spot on. Don’t question, just trust.
Seeking other’s approval of your work is a common mistake most creators make. What’s important is how it makes the creator feel, how you talk about your work, and how you get it out into the world.
Success is measured in hindsight. Any advice from those farther down the road comes in to neat and easy a package. Everyone is making it up as they go; some just fail more successfully. Ultimately what will work for you is practicing, taking chances, and learning to trust your own answer.
There is no license to be bold, and waiting for outside consent will only make you old. You don’t need anyone’s permission to be creative, sexy, or even weird. We just decided to be.
By most accounts, the keys to happiness and longevity include the freedom to express your feelings, a sense of usefulness, and friends. Though the modern trend to these goals is through drugs, therapy, or meditation.
Amazon links → Print, Kindle, Audiobook