Pretend You Can, Even if You Don’t Know How

The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you’re getting away with something, and that at any moment now they will discover you.

— Neil Gaiman

It’s always interesting to find out how other people become successful, however the video above of Neil Gaiman (the successful author of the award winning American Gods and the well known Sandman comic book series) giving a commencement speech to an arts class is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It is full of great advice and is one of those videos that makes you realise that we all struggle with the same mental setbacks and inner demons. In the video Neil discusses the unconventional methods he used to get started in his career, gives some great advice about making things happen, and reveals some interesting perspectives (and issues) on success.

Analysis paralysis is what happens when we get bogged down in the details, researching, brainstorming, and tweaking, without actually creating. This isn’t something that happens to us, it’s something we do to ourselves. I believe that this, more so than anything else, is the reason we lose momentum in the pursuit of our goals in life; and in some situations, lose sight of them altogether. Most of the time those huge and undefined projects that we just don’t know how to even start (let alone finish), end up being so unbelievably simple that we typically want to kick ourselves in the ass for procrastinating on them for so long. One simple way to get started (and even finish most of the time) a project, is to pretend that you know everything you need to about it. Close down the research, turn off the TV, even shut the music off for a while, and just start. It isn’t as hard as you think. Pretend you know how and go ahead and do it!