Book Notes – The Heart to Start: Win the Inner War & Let Your Art Shine by David Kadavy

The book | Read in June 2018 | My rating 4.25

The Heart to Start is a short book with simple ideas. But they all make so much sense. Read it if you want the motivation to put more of your art into the world.

If you’re ready to start creating something, stop reading. That’s much more important. Don’t seek out more inspiration if you’re ready to get started.

Create your utopia.

The first step to controlling your world is to control your culture…. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.

— Chuck Palahniuk

Some people just have a drive to create. Do you too? “There’s this constant gnawing feeling. I feel uneasy, like I’ve wasted a day, if I haven’t created something”.

Creating is hard, but your art is the best expression possible of who you really are. Art is your unique blend of your passions, interests, and even your compassion for others.

“I shut down my startup and left Silicon Valley. I ditched my place in San Francisco, and for the same price I was paying for a tiny bedroom in the Mission, I rented a two-bedroom in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village. I did everything I could to give myself time and space to explore what interested me“.

It’s more comfortable to have someone else to blame. But when you work for yourself, you’re on your own. Can you handle that?

What is done in love is well done.

— Vincent Van Gogh

Criticizing others wastes energy we could be using to grow.

Sean Stephenson: “I’ve never found a bully that was doing amazing things with their life…. Successful, happy, well-emotionally-balanced people don’t have time to shit on somebody else.”

“I figured if I could fill up as much of my day with that feeling as possible – that feeling of “flow” – that would be enough to keep myself motivated”.

“Even if you’re not the best in the world at any one of those curiosities, chances are you’re the best in the world at your particular combination of curiosities.” 

“My first book, Design for Hackers, was born from a combination of my interests in design, programming, entrepreneurship, and writing”.

Me: What is my particular combination of curiosities? Probably writing, startups, online marketing… and a good measure of solo adventure and reading, do they count?

If you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

— C.S. Lewis

The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.

– Elie Wiesel

When you’re writing, drawing, coding or creating, listen out for the pumping of your heart – “It could be that I’m really excited about an idea. It could be that I’m scared. Whatever I’m feeling, my heartbeat will change accordingly. Sometimes I can feel it pound through my chest. That’s when I know I’m really onto something”.

“When I really get in touch with The Pump, writing comes much more easily. Second, I believe my readers will feel what I feel. If I feel The Pump, they’ll feel The Pump”.

Each word represents an idea or a thing you can put in someone else’s mind. The technology for brain-to-brain connections already exists, in books and art.

“Art is telepathy. This is why that song moves you so much. This is why you can’t put that book down. This is why you feel compelled to volunteer for that nonprofit. Someone created something, and it made you feel something”.

Sometimes it’s not just the literal words we feel. Sometimes it’s what that person felt when he or she was making that thing.

Get yourself in the right mood so you can transfer it to your audience. Is this how you want them to feel too? If not, how can you get in that mood? (It could be inspired, energetic, calm and comfortable).

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

— Ray Bradbury

Use your pockets of time throughout the day to chip away at your creative pursuits, instead of scrolling Facebook.

You don’t have to sit down for ten hours to commit to making art. You can work for ten minutes on something now, or between appointments, or while you’re waiting for dinner. Take the pressure off yourself and let yourself make a tiny start. You’ll often make big progress.

“If we never get started, we never get good, and you can’t get good without first being bad”. Permission to suck is real.

What motivates you – reward or punishment? Build it into your work routine.

Set a twenty minute timer and get to work. You’ll probably spend a lot longer if you follow your curiosity.

Begin in the part of the project that excites you; also, one that will build momentum in other parts of the project.

Ultimately, your work has to resonate with others. If you tap into the collective consciousness, others will immediately identify with your work. Fortunately, your own consciousness is a part of this collective consciousness. If you have the courage to listen to the voice inside your head, it will lead you to ideas that puncture the vacuum between the status quo and people’s true thoughts and desires”.

Does your work make you feel something? That’s the first step to creating something real that will resonate.