As I sit to write this post, I feel small twinges of exactly what I am writing about. Fear that it is pointless to write this and that it is a waste of time. But it needs to be written because Fear is exactly what will keep you from making a great game or doing anything great.
Another name for Fear that has been given is the Resistance. Most of the people I have heard use this term reference a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I have written a little about this Resistance before, but I think it is such a major factor in holding people back, myself included, that it needs to be readdressed occasionally.
In one of the classic books on success titled Think and Grow Rich, the author list 6 categories of fear that most fears can be grouped under.
- Fear of Poverty
- Fear of Criticism
- Fear of Ill Health
- Fear of Loss of Love
- Fear of Old Age
- Fear of Death
Today we will look at the fears of poverty and criticism because they seem to be the most likely culprits in keeping creative people from doing great things.
Fear of poverty is characterized by things that keep you poor such as worry, doubt, indecision, and procrastination. It makes you overcautious and unwilling to take the risks which you need to take to become richer. And often the risks are not really risky at all. It turns out it is usually more risky to keep the status quo than to make the changes necessary to achieve success.
For writing and making games especially this is a big one. I think it is the one that keeps me from wanting to hit the publish button every time I write a post and that keeps me from wanting to show someone a rough version of a game.
You are not likely to become poor from writing for free on the Internet or from showing people the games you are making. However, you are likely to receive some criticism, especially if you have any sort of audience. It is impossible to make everybody happy. But often the criticism comes from people whose opinion of us does not matter. As far as games are concerned, criticism is exactly what we need. We need fresh eyes to take a critical look at our games and we need the criticism and insight that they offer.
There is a fairly well known quote from Theodore Roosevelt that says
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
What Do We Do?
There are a couple of ways to get past the fears. One is to talk about them, they hate that. The part of your brain that likes to bring up fears does not like you to look at them directly and consider the worst outcomes and the likely outcomes.
Another way is to ask good questions. What is the likely outcome of performing this action? What is the worst outcome? Who might criticize me and do I care that they do? Who am I helping by doing this? Start asking yourself questions about why you don’t want to do something.
A final way of getting past fear is just make what you want to do a must and turn it into a habit. Every day you will do this thing. It helps to make it the first thing you do when you get up.
I hope this help you get past some of your fears that are preventing you from writing that blog post or showing someone the game your are working on.