I can't even begin to count how many people (myself very much included) keep saying:

"Yeah, I'm going to start this JavaScript course!"

"I'm buying and reading this book!"

"I've started building this app to learn React and GraphQL!"

Months Later...

Cute cat stretching
How's that app coming along?

"I didn't finish that course, this new book is what I need!"

"The book was too long, but this Udemy course is perfect for me!"

"The app idea wasn't practical, but check this new one out!"

No, Stop It.

The course, book, and app idea were all probably fine. Your real issue is commitment.
Repeat after me:

I love starting things, but hate finishing them.

Now let's talk about why.

Obsessed With Level One

Board game start
Why do we keep coming back here?

My fellow gamers, what gives you more pleasure?

  1. Playing the first level of ten different games...
  2. Or playing one excellent game all the way to the end?

I'd pick #2 any day, especially in an RPG game.

Starting many games is great for browsing, but you won't have time to emotionally connect with any of them. Nobody values ten games they've only demoed.

It's About Quality Time

Young kittens playing
Your emotional connection needs time to develop.

Immersing yourself in the story, understanding the characters, and learning the gameplay is how memorable gaming experiences are crafted. That's the secret sauce fueling your most cherished childhood gaming memories. That's the experience everyone remembers.

Unlocking that experience requires you to venture beyond Level One.

Same Thing In Life

Here's another poll, what gives you more pleasure?

  1. Starting an idea, quitting, and starting another one...
  2. Or starting an idea and finishing it no matter what?

This time I think choice #1 wins.

Why do we commit to games, but bail on ideas?

Video games offer pleasure through progression. The whole point in starting a game is to commit by exploring and finishing it. Going beyond Level One is a no-brainer.

Ideas, on the other hand, offer pleasure through passion. All the fun lies in Level One. Once it's time to work, most of us fizzle out and pick another idea.

We tend to quit after Level One: Hype and Talk.

How many Level 2s have you reached?

It's Not Just You

I'll be the first to admit–my brain gets a reward sensation when I start something new. And the sensation intensifies with every person I tell it to. Announcing my new plans feels like a win!

But that's a trap.

Admiral already knows

The hollow victory you "earn" by merely broadcasting your plans can fill you to the point of complacency. Despite being easy, talk can feel so good that you end up believing you've done enough work!

Toast has heard more than enough.

Even at a societal level, we're ADDICTED to life's Level Ones. Whether it's an idea, product, entertainment, or even other people, if you don't like it order something new!

Make a Process

A good video game's based on an idea, but is realized through a process.

If your idea's ever to realize fruition, create a process! Define what you need to succeed, map it out, and get to work.

Try to create your own missions, composed of several quests, which are just many action items.

Whether it's a paper checklist, todo app, or calendar, write down your action items and start crossing them off.

However you want to gamify things.

Without constantly having something to attend to, you'll spin your wheels, get bored, and abandon the idea altogether.

Learn to Delay Gratification

I recently coded a little Pokedex in my spare time. Did you know I talked about it for two years, starting/stopping several times in the process?

Talking was easy, cheap, and quick–that's why I kept doing it. When I finally shut up, sat down, and did the work...it felt truly rewarding.

The breath of fresh air I took afterwards nearly blew my house down! That Pokedex App's now a solid brick laid into the foundation of my personal empire.

Keep Reminding Yourself

And sometimes we simply don't remember why we started something!

During the passion phase, you may devote yourself to a routine until success is achieved.

But along the way something strange happens... You start forgetting why you set this goal in the first place. You wake up one day asking who married you to this schedule, and how can you get out.

That feeling when you wake up...

The why is as important as the what. Remind yourself of both. It's key to making anyone else care.

No one will remember ten ideas you had, but they'll remember one idea you excellently executed on.

Here's a Checklist

If I actually get something done, it usually has the following qualities:

  1. A well-defined purpose.
  2. Little talk.
  3. Much work.
  4. Countless hours of frustration and wanting to give up.
  5. An environment that reminds you how crucial points 1–4 are.

Here's that list in Doge form.

Doge's work checklist

The end result tends to be no one knowing about your endeavor until they're already applauding you for it. So instead of puffing up your plans for a cheap high, stay grounded and move towards your destination.

Play it to the end, remind yourself why along the way, and create an experience we'll all remember.

Thanks for reading. Until next time ❤️

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