Shipping Hurts

Seth Godin talks a lot about how the prehistoric-don’t-get-eaten-by-a-lion part of you (which he calls The Lizard Brain or The Resistance), really, really hates it when you try to do something remarkable. It hates for you to make products, because there’s a chance they might fail (and it associates failure with getting eaten by lions). It hates for you to start a new business, because there’s a chance you might fail (and get eaten by lions). It hates for you to try freelancing, or start a blog. In fact, it hates everything that might help you get ahead in life. It wants you to be average and boring.

If you manage to circumvent The Resistance long enough to actually get a project started, The Resistance turns to subterfuge and sabotage. It tells you that your novel needs another edit before you send it to the publisher, that your business will really go a lot better if you wait until you’ve taken accounting, that you shouldn’t try freelancing until you have some more money (wait.. aren’t I freelancing to get more money? Shh! The Resistance hates logic). The Lizard tries to keep all projects in “pending” mode, tries to keep you from ever shipping.

Godin has talked a lot about how the lizard will try to keep you from shipping your projects, by making you scared or uncertain or angry. What he hasn’t mentioned is that if you get around all that and manage to ship anyway, the lizard will switch to negative reinforcement: it will punish you for shipping, by making you terrified that you left a typo on page 5, or that your customer will hate the color scheme, or that you set the price too high. The goal is to associate pushing the Send button with excruciating pain, so that you won’t ever do it again.

Even though it’s happening after the shipment, it’s still The Resistance, and it doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Ignore it.

Resources For Further Reading
10 Weaknesses of Human Intelligence
Avoiding Momentum