Side projects

Hi Leo,

Have you ever dreamt of doing something but your brain told you that it was impossible? Do you want to create your own video game? Do you want to make a horror film with your friends? Do you want to help other kids in need around the World?

The first most difficult barrier when trying to achieve something new is to believe you can do it.

Start by starting

It’s only a psychological wall and we can learn to jump it. The key is to actually start doing something about that new idea.

Go and write down your thoughts or draw them or talk about them to a friend. The more you dig into an the idea, the closer you get to get something done. Go wild on imagining how to achieve your goal, take a notepad and find a new place to get inspired, shut down the you-can’t-do-this part of your brain and picture yourself reaching that new goal. That will be a very good start.

Find time and a secret place

All of us, no matter the age, have responsibilities. Yours are probably related to homework, room keeping, walking the dog, etc. Mine are family and work mainly. It’s very easy to get absorbed on these daily tasks whether we enjoy them little or lots.

Since I was a teenager like you, I’ve been trying to put some time aside all year around to play with some of those wild ideas I was talking about earlier. Sometimes, after some initial thinking, I’ve found something that really interested me and spent some good time on it.

I start by writing down one line describing the project idea. I have a special place for them, you can use an app or a notepad or a secret drawer. Many times, they’ve been forgotten there for years but I never discarded them, because the reasons to go or not to go with them may change in the future. But some of them have been a starting point to do something new for me.

Get your hands dirty

You know you are after something good when you find yourself thinking about that project many times during the week.

Follow your instinct and invest time on the idea that makes your ears burn of excitement! You’ve found your first side project.

Go and read online about the topic, find people with the same interests, put down notes, start to think on a plan, ask questions, test your assumptions, get dirty. The more information you gather about the state of things that surround your project, the better situation you’ll be to make a plan to get it done.

What resources do I need? How can I get those resources? Can I do it alone? Do I need help from others? How much time do I need for it? Will it be fun? These are some of the questions I ask myself for each new side project. If you hit a big wall early answering any of them, try to reformulate your project idea to bypass that problem. Many times you’ll find the answers later on the process of developing the project.

Explore the unknown

Side projects are the perfect way to get to know about new things. Is a great way to discover your passions, to try yourself out, to experiment. In many cases, side projects have made people shift their lives to put them in the center of their careers!

The most interesting people I’ve met in my life are not good at only one thing, they all have experimented things with side projects whether they became their main thing in life or not.

Build your own bicycle, write a book about aliens, learn to paint with watercolours, create a network of students across Europe, sell apples with jokes printed on them. Imagine, plan and do, there are no actual limits on trying.

And do your homework too 🙂

 

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