Yes, You Absolutely Can
“Cut the crap and make it happen.”
When Greg Dyke became director-general of the BBC in the early aughts, he wanted to get staff excited about the organization’s remit again. If Auntie— as the BBC is fondly known in the UK — had always been about informing, educating, and entertaining, morale wasn’t high when Dyke took office. So to motivate everyone, he decided to do away with meaningless jargon and had a series of yellow cards printed with his now legendary phrase.
More than a decade and a half later, his one-liner lives on in the memory of journalists and is the perfect antidote to anyone telling you to funnel your pyramid.
Or to become your number one cheerleader.
Or to launch your “personal writing career,” an oxymoron if there ever was one as writing is a service, not self-serving, isn’t it? We write to and for others, not at them, don’t we?
Lest we forget, life is a team sport, not a solo pursuit; much as we like to pretend otherwise, we can’t go it alone or become completely self-sufficient.
The work of writers of all stripes, for example, would be entirely pointless without an audience.
None of this meaningless pseudo-inspirational success filler copy is helpful.
Plainly put, you can’t hack success or creativity. So why waste your time lining the pockets of those who pen that stuff when you could be empowering yourself by working on your own writing instead?
Greg Dyke wanted BBC staffers to look forward to making excellent TV again and to get their creative juices flowing. Timeless, a pithy formula that sounds like it’s come straight out of the mouth of a geezer down the boozer is endlessly adaptable, too.
Second-guessing ourselves about the viability of our various creative aspirations is fairly common. We humans are naturally cautious creatures who do not embrace change easily.
Often, we let fear convince us there’s no point in trying anything new while occulting the fact that fear isn’t real but a projection of the worst-case scenario.
This worst-case scenario hasn’t happened yet and may never come to pass.
Don’t we owe it to ourselves to find out?
Let curiosity guide you.
Action cures fear.
That’s it. That’s the secret sauce. What happens next is in your hands.
The only thing you really have to do is ask yourself how motivated you are, then give it all you’ve got.
And most definitely no excuses.
Bear in mind that hard work is no guarantee of parlaying your efforts into monetary reward and then decide whether you want to proceed.
People who have vocation are usually powerless to ignore it. For example, poets write poetry because it is the language their soul speaks and silencing it would lead to great unhappiness. None of them are in it for the money because it rarely is a lucrative pursuit.
Instead, their calling only answers to art and the all-consuming urge to create something that wasn’t there before. Like many other forms of writing, poetry is alchemy that transforms the vagaries of life into a universal tribute to our shared humanness.
Whatever it is that makes your heart beat faster, you don’t need anyone’s permission or another success puff piece to get started.
Forget about self-belief, too. Most of us feel like a fraud when we start out and if my own experience is anything to go by, the feeling never lessens; you just learn to live with it.
Imposter syndrome keeps you honest and forces you to keep learning and iterating so it’s a lot more useful than thinking you’ve arrived, as self-confidence often leads to complacency.
And enormous egos.
Go find out what you’re made of. Surprise yourself and you’ll likely surprise those around you, too. Throw yourself heart and mind into something that matters to you and others will invariably pick up on it.
This is how meaningful connections and collaborations happen, randomly, against all odds. Also trust that the help you don’t even know you need yet will show up along the way, astonishing though this may sound.
But don’t take my word for any of it.
Cut the crap and make it happen.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.