Show your work, not your tools
You don’t need more gear
Hey there —
Pop quiz. 📝
I want to create meaningful content for my YouTube channel. I should focus on:
A. Becoming a stronger storyteller
B. Upgrading to a higher quality camera
C. Consistently posting videos
Hint: two of these things are going to make the biggest impact when it comes to reaching your goal. (And it’s not adding to your gear kit.)
For those of us who work (or have hobbies) in creative spaces that rely on certain tools, it can be easy to assume that better gear = better output.
And so, when our work isn’t quite living up to our vision and imposter syndrome strikes, we turn to the shiny promise of the new camera lens or guitar pedal or drawing tablet we’re sure will help us reach success.
Before you know it, we’re trapped in the clutches of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Or as one tongue-in-cheek article describes it: “the all-consuming desire to expand your collection of gear…Bank balances have been battered and marriages destroyed, but by god there’s been some lovely gear bought.”
All jokes aside, while certain resources can be vital to our work, it’s not often that the latest and greatest gear is actually essential to meeting our goals (or even creating something great).
Consider the story of American Jazz pianist Keith Jarret and his 1975 performance at the Cologne Opera House.
When Jarret arrived to play a solo recital in front of an audience of 1,300 people, he discovered not the concert grand piano he’d specifically requested, but a much smaller baby grand — one used for rehearsals that was in poor condition and badly out of tune.
Jarret saw this piano as a horribly sub-par tool and nearly canceled the show. But once he was convinced to continue, Jarret went on to perform one of his most memorable concerts ever, using his skill to improvise two enchanting pieces driven by the constraints of the poor-quality instrument.
The concert’s recording would go on to become the best-selling piano album of all time. As music writer Charles Waring describes it:
“In the end, the less-than-perfect piano, which Jarrett initially thought was his worst nightmare, turned out to be a blessing and a boon rather than a curse.”
It’s easy to focus on tools and gear as the thing that’s going to produce the most high-quality, standout content.
But better tools don’t make you a better creator, because it’s not the tools you use to make your art that are most important — it’s the art itself.
So instead of focusing on upgrading your gear (and thinking you’re falling short if you don’t have the latest tech) focus on upgrading your skills and putting out content. Become a stronger storyteller using just your iPhone, study up on photo composition before you upgrade to a new camera lens, and play with the flavors in your food instead of buying that expensive set of Japanese knives.
Are tools useful and even necessary? Absolutely. But your work speaks louder than your tools. And it’s practice — not fancy gear — that will lead to the most progress. ⭐
Brought to you by Squarespace
When you need the right tool to build your website
Some tools are essential. Like ones that help you build a beautiful website so you can get more eyes on what’s important — your work.
With their custom domains and built-in sales and SEO tools, Squarespace can help you seamlessly build your brand or sell…anything.
Award-winning templates make it easy to build your website on your own, or hire an expert through the Squarespace marketplace. Either way, you’ve got flexible plans for your unique needs + 24/7 customer support.
They’ve even got you covered when it comes to marketing, with email tools and social media templates that will help you connect with your audience (and look like a seasoned design professional).
It’s the all-in-one platform to stand out online and start showcasing your art.
Use promo code SNAILMAIL10 to get 10% off at checkout.
Are you upgrading yourself to misery?
by Rafael Ludwig
Want some more help avoiding (or overcoming) gear acquisition syndrome? 🛒
In this video, creator Rafael Ludwig dives deeper into the science behind our desire for new gear (and why clicking “buy now” only offers a temporary boost to our creative self-esteem).
Even more helpful, he also shares practical tips for how to make wiser gear purchases, identifying the difference between “want” and “need” and offering a list of criteria to meet before you consider an upgrade.Watch the video →
What rewatching old shows teaches us about ourselves
by Allie Volpe
What’s your favorite show to watch on repeat? (For this writer, top prize goes to Parks and Recreation.) 📺
Whatever characters or settings you love to return to time and time again, have you ever stopped to wonder why we all love revisiting our favorite shows?
Cristel Russell (professor of marketing at the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University) did, and she conducted a study to find out. In this interview, she shares the results.
It turns out that our rewatches go deeper than mere nostalgia, offering us a unique way of connecting with the present.
How to find a therapist: your comprehensive guide
By Good Good Good Co.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month (and May 18th is Mental Health Action Day). Take this as your reminder to check in with yourself, practice some self-care, and reach out for help if you need it. 💛
Speaking of reaching out for help, if you’ve been thinking about therapy but have felt overwhelmed by where to start, the folks over at Good Good Good Co. have created this comprehensive guide on how therapy works, how to decide if it’s right for you, and how to find the right therapist.
How do you find a balance between being very strict with your rules and habits versus allowing yourself to let things slide?
—Nathan M., Sydney, Australia
We often see rules as restrictive, but the right rules and habits aren’t meant to hold you back from something — they’re meant to help you work toward your best, most fulfilling life. So the first step may be to tweak your mindset around rules and remember why you’ve implemented them, so that you’re less tempted to make compromises or skip out on your habit routines.
But we all need a break sometimes, or encounter circumstances outside our control that throw a wrench in our plans. A great way to give yourself space to be flexible, take a break, and deal with the unexpected — while also ensuring you don’t let things slide to the point of completely undoing your progress — is to implement the Two-Day Rule.
The Two-Day Rule is simple: It’s okay to take a break from your habit (even more than once per week) — but never skip two days in a row. Hit play to learn more!👇
Got a question for the Slow Growth team? Click here to send it our way!
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella