One thing I'm always looking for is new frameworks of thought; ways to optimise and improve how I work and feel. I'll listen to people's experiences and methods they use and read arguments that encourage the move I'm trying to make. For example, a good one I heard the other day about how to maintain an abundance of energy and enthusiasm came from everyone's favourite bodybuilder Terry Crews, where he related his joy for living to the gratitude he practised for the things he was lucky to have achieved. It's little things like that I like to have in the barrel for when the inner voice is working against me.

That's why I decided a good blog topic would be sharing my philosophies of work. For each one of these I'll explain my method and what it'll do to help if you're creating a project of your own.

So without further ado, let's get into my Three Tenets.

What's the philosophy?

The Three Tenets will be your personal common denominator that defines the motivations behind everything you do. With them, you can figure out if a project you're planning aligns with your personal goals, and filter out things that you might be doing for the wrong reasons.

This is something I used out of desperation when things were piling up - there were so many things I wanted to get started that I didn't know which to prioritise and how to execute them.

How does it work?

Take a notebook, and for as long as you like write down all the things you love to do. Not stuff you like or do to pass the time - you only want the activities for which you don't notice time passing; things that consistently bring a positive light to your day.

For example, my list looked like this:

  • Laughing
  • Finding out how things work
  • Watching great comedy or stand-up
  • Experiencing emotive films and television
  • Learning something new that I'll be able to use
  • Achieving something significant as a result of my hard work
  • Adding some new best work to my portfolio
  • Experiencing the reaction of a client I've really pleased
  • Becoming motivated and inspired by others
  • Seeing the results of healthy living

There were a few more but I'm writing from memory away from home, and the notebooks I have with me aren't the one I used for the exercise. Pls forgiv.

Then, spend some time really thinking about why these things matter to you. What do they bring you? Why does it matter that you receive that? You've probably guessed where this is heading. Once you've really compared them with each other, you might start to see some groups forming, categorised by similar reasons for their appeal. Some might sit in two camps, you might have two main reasons or four, but really try to filter things down to the core of why they're important to you. That left me with my Three Tenets, which were:

  • They make me laugh
  • I learn from them
  • I feel like I've earned it

The Test

So you've got your commandments and now you've got to bring them back down the mountainside. Apply these key motivations to the things you're trying to achieve. I'd be willing to wager the projects you feel more reluctance and anxiety over are the ones where your tenets are a tougher fit. From here you've got to make a decision.

Now, other internet voices will exercise the Gary Vaynerchuk-esque 'granite determination, make life hell for yourself on purpose' approach where you only succeed by being a workaholic yes-man and any less deserves failure, but I'll never enforce a belief on someone else and I think the newly-minted 'motivation industry' makes an awful lot of money from feeding those in need of direction too much Superman medicine. In reality you've got to weigh up pros and cons, money against time, mental health against speed of results. My belief is that first and foremost you should take care of yourself, so please be rational when mulling this over.

Your decision is whether you want to continue with the project if it doesn't align with your key motivations. For me, I can get by with boring or uninteresting tasks but I hate work that doesn't agree with my principles (see my brief stint as the pawn of an exploitative direct marketing agency) so I don't last long trying to achieve something that I know isn't for me. Looking back, that's what caused my sudden rejection of an academic degree over flimsy flighty soft-subject Media. Studying maths at uni would have cost me so much of the progress I've made since I turned 18 and I retain that my degree choice is one of the best I could have made. For Seabrook Media, not only can I laugh with my clients throughout my production process, I find it incredibly rewarding to see work I've created do something to assist the client I've worked with, and every time I learn about the client's projects and pick up new tricks in the edit. Three out of three. That's rare.

However, I don't know what's at stake for you. If your decision is to hold out on a job you're not finding to be fulfilling, but you have considerable financial commitments, you have to consider your options. However, knowing what aligns with your motivations and what doesn't is great for being able to separate tasks into 'things I want to move into in the future' and 'things I want to be able to never do again' and that's a motivation to change circumstances as it is. Change happens gradually, but having a clear view of your situation whether it's pretty or not is a powerful aid when you need to choose your next move.

See you later.