Create or Hate by Dan Norris
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Create or Hate Summary
The Book in Three Sentences
Most of us want to make something, but for any number of reasons haven’t
Hate works against our creativity and stops us from making things
Hate can be controlled and overpowered
The Five Big Ideas
Successful people make things.
The world will be a better place if we create what we want to create.
Hate stops us from making things (this is similar to what Steven Pressfield calls ‘Resistance’ in The War of Art).
Hate can be controlled, managed, and overpowered.
To conquer Hate, accept its presence and recognize it every time it rears its hideous head.
Create or Hate Summary
“Most of us have always wanted to make something, but for any number of reasons haven’t.”
Dan believes that the world will be a better place if we create what we want to create. He believes we will be happier, more fulfilled, and maybe even more successful if we create something.
Timing is a huge factor that is rarely acknowledged when it comes to success and can often be the difference between complete failure and monumental success.
“What a person starts with, who their friends are, and what they have access to are all factors that determine success.”
“I can’t tell you how to be successful. But I can tell you that if you don’t make anything, you won’t be successful.”
“Successful people make things.”
According to Robert Sutton, author and Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford School of Engineering, “Creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity. To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a pure numbers game.”
“Being creative isn’t magic. It’s just a person deciding to create.”
“Don’t write yourself off just because your creations aren’t immediately successful, or aren’t considered great by the people who surround you.”
“If you are creating things, then you are creative.”
“Hate stops you from making things. Hate wasn’t there at the start. It’s been given power over the years and is now equipped with an arsenal of weapons designed to stop your creative self from making things. Hate doesn’t get joy from stopping your creative efforts, it just does its job.”
“Hate wins when you choose not to make things.”
“[Hate] doesn’t happen all of a sudden; it happens gradually, starting out with simple, innocent negativity, which slowly escalates.”
“People don’t want to admit that someone else made something, while they made nothing.”
“Haters don’t create anything, and instead get caught up in a never-ending cycle of Hate feeding Hate and criticism triumphing over creation.”
“Excuses are essentially lies.”
“Hate’s strongest weapon is to convince you of things that aren’t true, in order to stop you from making things.”
“Hate can be controlled, managed, and overpowered if you know how.”
“The first step in conquering Hate is to accept its presence and recognize it every time it rears its hideous head.”
“Listen for that little voice in your head, telling you—in quite reasonable and measured tones—why you can’t do something.”
The Excuses That Hate Comes Up With
1. “I don’t have enough time”
“Research has shown that elite performers don’t necessarily spend more time practicing. They are just more productive when they do practice. Learn how to use your time more productively to free up time for making things.”
“Things like single-tasking, smaller projects, tracking your progress, setting goals, doing timed work sessions free of interruption, and adding accountability are all proven methods for maximizing your productivity in a short amount of time.”
“When you have less time, you become more productive. It’s often then that you really start to see where your priorities lie.”
2. “What if I fail?”
“Failure is just course correction. “If you can fail quickly and without worry, you can correct course quicker, improve quicker, learn more, and achieve more.”
“If you aren’t regularly failing, you aren’t seeking a new destination.”
“Aim to fail at 97% or better, and you will be on par with the world’s smartest and most successful people.”
3. “What if I suck?”
“If you are telling yourself you suck, then what you are really saying is that you suck compared to someone else.”
“Comparison is a major creativity killer.”
“If Hate is telling you that you suck, just take a step back and think: do you actually suck? Probably not, so let’s just move on. If you do, then we can fix that too.”
4. “I should be doing X”
“Hate will try to convince you that you should be doing something other than creating.”
“One of the ways Hate presents this is via guilt.”
“Do more of what you love and you will be more successful.”
5. “It’s too hard”
“Feeling overwhelmed is another effective tactic that Hate uses to stop you from making things.”
“The thing you need to remember about achieving anything significant is that the biggest reason for failure is not starting.”
“Once you start, you are OK.”
6. “It’s probably been done”
“When entrepreneurs think up new ideas, Hate convinces them that someone else has probably done it before.”
“The biggest challenge in business isn’t having the best idea, it’s commanding the most attention. If you can get more attention for your idea than your competitors, you will win.”
“Doing things that have already been done might just be a smart way to go. If it’s already been done, good. Do it again, and do it better.”
7. “I need permission”
“You don’t need approval. You don’t need permission. You aren’t a child anymore.”
Zero Tolerance for Negativity
“Negativity is Hate’s currency.”
How to Avoid Negativity in Other People
Stop being friends with negative people
Spend less time with negative family members
Leave any groups that are dominated by negative people
Avoid friending negative people on social media.
How to Avoid Negativity in Yourself
Completely eliminate negative self-talk
Realize that negativity is boring and people don’t actually care
Listen to yourself next time you are communicating online or in person. Are you being negative about what is going on? Are you listening to what the other person has to say? Or are you only talking about yourself and your so-called ‘problems’?
Practice self-awareness, gratitude, and empathy on a regular basis.
“Self-awareness is the key to recognizing and managing Hate.”
How to Cultivate a Healthy Level of Self-Awareness
Personality quizzes such as a DiSC Profile, Myers-Briggs types, or the Yohari Window are a good place to start
Avoid assumptions wherever possible, and look for the data
Fail a lot
Get better at reading between the lines
Be More Grateful, Be More Creative
“A lot of Hate stems from a lack of gratitude. Having a lack of gratitude will lead directly to negativity, which is the currency of Hate. If you can become more grateful, you will become less hateful and, therefore, more creative.”
How to Become More Grateful
Practice gratitude daily
Notice when others aren’t being grateful, so you can get constant reminders of the importance of gratitude
Attack a ‘Difficult Gratitude Problem,’ (or DGP). Let difficult circumstances trigger gratitude
Build variety into your life through your routine or with travel or become more observant to variety around you
Change, ‘I have to do x,’ to, ‘I get to do x.’
Helping out people who are less fortunate
Take a week off complaining, or at least a day
Don’t watch the news
Empathy Breeds Creativity
“Empathy is another way to kill negativity.”
“Becoming a more empathic person makes you more understanding, more grateful, less negative, and therefore more creative.”
“The secret to empathy is not imagining what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Because all that does is put you in their shoes. It’s them in their shoes we need to understand, not you in their shoes.”
“When you prescribe simple solutions to people’s problems, that’s mistakenly putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
How to Be More Empathetic
Admit that: “I actually don’t understand anyone unless I make an attempt to understand them.”
Don’t rush into responses and don’t rush to judgment.
Don’t be so quick to assume you know everything about that person and why they are doing it. If you can judge people less, you can understand people better.
Notice empathy in others. If you can notice it when you see it, you are more likely to improve your own skills. Notice people who are curious, who don’t just talk about themselves but eagerly want to hear about others.
Spend more time in person with friends, customers, and business colleagues. Spending more time in person cuts through it all and helps you to remember and really understand the individual.
Don’t talk as much. During a conversation, listen more and ask open questions.
Create more things. The more you create, the more you will understand what people go through while putting their ideas out into the world.
Realize that empathy and sympathy are not the same thing. Take your time and really try to understand how it might feel to be that person. Avoid amplifying the grief of others by dwelling on their suffering.
The next time you are in a conversation, stop yourself from talking unless you absolutely have to. Just ask the occasional question if the silence is unbearable.
Learn to become a better listener and communicator.
Practice reading other people’s emotions. The more you can understand how people express emotions, the more you will understand other people.
“If you are an entrepreneur, empathy is your business.”
Am I Good Enough?
“One of the biggest reasons people don’t make things is because they let Hate convince them that they aren’t good enough.”
“Perfectionism is another trick Hate will use to stop you from making things. If Hate can convince you that everything has to be perfect, it knows you won’t begin, or at least that you won’t finish the task you are striving to complete.”
“If you feel like you aren’t good enough, the first thing to think about is whether or not you have to be good.”
“No matter what you do, it always helps to be as good as you can be. But you don’t always have to be the best in the world to do something successfully.”
“If you really feel like you can’t be good at something, and you are really honest with yourself, you can do something else.”
“There is no magic bullet that will kill Hate off for good. Instead, you need to constantly practice creating more. You can’t just become creative or be creative indefinitely.”
Create More Than You Consume
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” —Henry David Thoreau
“Understand that you have two choices: to create something or consume something.”
“If you want to be an actively creative person, you have to create more than you consume.”
“Create so much they can’t ignore you.”
“Make your creative projects simpler, and you’ll be more likely to start.”
“In order for your creativity to thrive, you need to feed it.”
“There’s something about a change of scenery that puts you in the mood to create.”
“The first 12,000 words of my second book, Content Machine, were written on a six-hour flight. I wrote 6,000 words for my third book, Operation Brewery, when we flew to China to inspect our brewing equipment. The last 10,000 words were written on a flight to the U.S., where I also wrote the first 5,000 words of this book.” (Norris refers to Peter Shankman who we learned about in Deep Work)
“Make sure that whether you are in your work space or out and about, you have a creativity toolkit that allows you to spring into action and embrace your creative impulses when they surface.”
“Create with others, help others, and creativity will flourish.”
Other Books by Dan Norris
The 7-Day Startup
If you like Create or Hate, you may also like the following books:
The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
Deep Work by Cal Newport
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Buy The Book: Create or Hate
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