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  • Writer's pictureKevin Kai Goh

3 Steps to Overcome Feeling Worthless

Updated: Jul 27, 2023




A couple nights ago, I got have a deep talk with my friend Joseph about creative burnout.


On paper, he’s pretty put together. Joseph is an incredible filmmaker who has worked on award-winning, blockbuster movies, and we don’t get to talk much because we’re always busy with our own things.


But in this rare moment, sitting in a backyard under a starless sky, we were able to just sit with a couple friends and speak.


“Do you ever just feel worthless?” Our friend Steven asked us."What do you do in those moments?”


As silly of a question that may have seemed for someone so accomplished, Joseph’s sympathetic “yes,” was uttered no later than any of ours.


We realized that night: no matter how many external accomplishments we achieve in our lives, the inner voice must be quelled in a different way.


I’m sure each and every one of you reading can also relate to this feeling of self-worthlessness. So how do we deal with it?


1. Mood Follows Action

A common trope for artists is “waiting for inspiration to strike.” Like Newton under the apple tree or Jimmy Neutron with a ‘brain blast’, we’ve been told that great ideas come from the muses delivering them to our laps.


But what happens if we’re at a low, AND inspiration is nowhere to be seen?


That’s why nowadays, instead of leaving it to fate, I use small steps to generate inspiration, rather than wishing it will come to me.


I get it, it can be hard to want to do anything productive, especially when we’re at a low point.

That’s why during those times, I do things that will require the bare minimum of effort and brainpower. Things like...walking.


1. Going for walks


Walks have to be the one of the simplest actions with some of the strongest benefits. Most of us just don't even try going for walks because we associate it as an "older people" activity.


"There is something unique about walks. Ancient masters swore by it, industry leaders took them religiously, and the world’s most respected creatives made them a part of their everyday routine — I have noticed immense benefits myself." -Dan Koe


Brand advisor and creator Dan Koe speaks on how much of a superpower walking is in his life. From idea generation, to exercise, to even writing.


Try it yourself today! Whether it's down the block, or even just inside your house, take a couple steps away from your desk. You'll feel re-energized for the next task, and you'll be happy you did.


"Mood follows action." -Rich Roll


2. Surround Yourself with Inspiration.

Jon Shih, Kinjaz collectibles shelf with Star Wars, Bearbrick, Spiderman, Pokemon, Naruto, and more
Jon’s shelf of collectibles

One day, I was talking with one of my friends, Jon. He’s a creative director for one of the biggest dance companies in the world, and has been one of my biggest inspirations since high school.


We were sitting in his office space, surrounded by countless valuable collectibles. Star Wars, Marvel, classical Japan, you name it— there was nowhere the eye could wander without glimpsing some really cool figure or prop.


I remember asking Jon what compels him to collect (and spend) so much on these things.


Jon is a designer by trade, and thus he is constantly creating incredible works imbued with anime, comic, and Asian culture influence with a cyberpunk neon, modern day flare. He’s one of those guys who’s work you look at and ask yourself, “how do people even come up with this?”


But sitting there in Jon’s office, taking it all in, the answer began revealing itself as soon as I asked the question.


“It’s important to surround yourself with things that inspire you.” Jon replied.


bboy Villn wearing a Kinjaz, Kinaesthetik t-shirt
Design by Jon Shih for Kinjaz, @kin.aesthetik

The link was unmistakeable: the environment Jon had curated for himself was directly inputting into his output of creative work. I believe this principle applies to every single one of us.


Legendary entrepreneur Jim Rohn has a famous quote: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”


I believe this goes not only for people, but for all inputs. Ideas, places, even things. Every conversation you have, every room you walk into, every podcast you listen to, accumulates to make your identity.


I try to live by this idea and surround myself with as many inspirational things as possible, so that when I’m feeling down, I have my surroundings to lift me back up. Here are some you can take today:


Podcasts: Save these now, and listen to them whenever you need to inject a boost of healthy dopamine into yourself.

  1. Guy Raz: How I Built This

    1. Amazing series dedicated to sharing the stories of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, artists, and do-ers.

  2. The Tim Ferriss Show

    1. Masters of every field share their stories and insights. If you’re going to listen to someone, why not the best?

  3. The Colin and Samir Show

    1. Two great creators who’ve spent years nurturing their craft, and now use their platform to educate creators.


3. Remember How Far You’ve Come

After we all admitted to our feelings of worthlessness, Joseph continued by sharing what helps him in those darker moments.


“When I’m feeling down, I will take a look at my reel. It reminds me of what I have done, and what I am capable of.”


When I created this newsletter, I made it with the intention of reaching aspiring creatives. So if you’re reading this (especially this far in), then know that you are already in a very rare group of people. People hungry for growth, who do what it takes to grow.


Because we are so focused on growth, it can be easy for us to forget all that we’ve done before. We even forget some of our brightest moments, which we DESERVE to hold dear as a part of us!


I know you have stuff you’ve done in your past worth being proud of. Go back in the archives— your old journals, your previous videos— work that you’ve contributed to, and that you take pride in.


When we’re always looking forward, I understand how easy it can be to forget about everything in our past, and feel like we’ve done nothing. Sometimes, we just need a reminder.


Conclusion

It’s normal for us to feel shitty.

But it’s not always obvious how to stop. Sometimes, it may feel like the hardest part.

Hopefully these 3 takeaways will help you:

  1. Mood Follows Action

  2. Surround Yourself with Inspiration

  3. Remember How Far You’ve Come


You're worth more than you think. You got this.


Kai







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