Forgive Yourself For The Horror of The First Draft: Keep Going

Today I want to share a video with you that I saw a few days ago. It’s an important message that I think everyone should know. Something I wish that I had understood sooner.

Being Good Takes Time.

I talk to a lot of people on my website, YouTube, Periscope and email newsletter who want to make major changes and do better in life. I see a common thread.

Everyone wants to do amazing things. But no one wants to do the work that is required in order to be amazing. They try to [fill in the blank] for a few weeks, don’t see a big result and then give up.

You forget that people who make things look easy or natural may have put in years, or even decades of work to get to that skill level.

Would it surprise you to know that on my first attempt at affiliate marketing I worked 8-10 hours a day for three months before I made my first $28 sale?

[true story, and I was the happiest guy on earth when that sale came through]

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it takes time [sometimes a long time] to do well at something.

No matter what you do, your first draft is going to be horrible.

  • The first affiliate marketing campaign you launch is going to fail.
  • The first few songs your write are going to be awful.
  • Your first trip to the gym is going to be awkward.

And that’s ok. The only real requirement to becoming great at something is that no matter what happens to you along the way, you just keep going.

I’m going to shut up now, because I think the video sums it up perfectly.

The video transcript is included below.

Keep Going

It begins with a sense of what it should be like. Beautiful, accomplished, elegant, perfect. And it is so exciting.

You wake up, bounce out of bed, full of hope and energy. You settle down to work. In your mind’s eye you have such a vivid idea of what you want your masterpiece to be like.

You work, you toil, harder than even you could have envisioned. Then you take a step back from what you’ve done and realize; things aren’t the way you hoped.

Let’s put it more brutally, it’s terrible. You’re disgusted with what you’ve achieve. The only thing you can think about is the terrible gap between what you wanted to do and what you’ve actually done. And it seems your taste is well ahead of your abilities.

You run way in distress, maybe into the arms of someone who loves you. Or perhaps you choose to sit alone, where you contemplate your own profound mediocrity.

Look at you. You’re no better than that little guy. At least he works hard. You’re so sad. You’ve gone back to bed.

The problem is, this is too easy. Despair is cheap.

The first rule of anything creative: forgive yourself for the horror of the first draft.

  • Don’t hurry, do a little bit every day.
  • Keep a timetable and stick to it.
  • Work without hope or despair.

And you work like this for days, months, years, even decades. And eventually one day your talents will catch up to your tastes. And you’ll have done something in line with your expectations.

You might even be a little proud of yourself.

And who knows, maybe the rest of the world will be, a little bit too.

So just keep going.

This video is by The School of Life, which is currently my favorite YouTube channel. Check it out. [you’re welcome]


  • Kenny Yang

    Could you do a post or video on how you use trello? I’m getting into it now and was interested in how others use it.


    • Malan Darras

      it’s on the list brotha

  • Yussef Gilkey

    Ok Malan I will take your word for it. Besides after being self employed for a decade I have almost run out of mistakes to make. The odds are getting better lol.

    • Malan Darras

      that’s the game 😉

  • Derrick Ho

    Great stuff. Hi Malan, normally how do u motivate yourself when u feel like giving up especially in the first 3 months in Affiliate marketing? You have a mentor? mastermind group? self motivated?

    • Malan Darras

      I didn’t need outside motivation in my first 3 months (or first 3 years). I was so f#cking excited about the game that I could barely sleep.