Attitude follows behaviour

Imposter syndrome.

Feeling like you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.

Hanging around those who you feel should be.

It’s true, if at any time you feel your skill is inadequate, it likely is.

But that just means you know what you don’t know.

A plumber who’s fixed 1,000 toilets probably believes they can fix yours.

But the first time would’ve been a curious task.

And the second a little less.

The third, fourth, fifth, twentieth.

Better with every step.

How many lines of code do you need to write to believe you’re a programmer?


How many words, books, articles, poems, do you need to believe you’re a writer?

Van Gogh died thinking he wasn’t a painter.

It sounds silly.

He painted almost every day.

How many drug addicts will tell you they’re not addicted?

Their attitudes don’t line up with their behaviours.

Snorting, smoking, drinking daily.


I’m not addicted!


This paradox of not thinking you’re something yet still actually doing it.

Start chanting Ohmmmmmmm, auuummmmmm over and over and might actually find you start to relax.

The behaviour came first, the attitude took a while to catch up.

Even a new robot by DeepMind, RoboCat, uses 100-1000 demonstrations before it starts to reliably reproduce that action.

For the first few demonstrations, it performs poorly.

But the more it does it, the better it performs, the better it takes on new tasks.


With practice comes performance.

So if you want to think a certain way.

Start behaving that way first.

If you want to think of yourself as a writer, write.

If you want to think of yourself as an engineer, tinker and make things.

If you want to think of yourself as a chef, cook.

Change your actions and let your beliefs catch up.

Or maybe like Van Gogh, your beliefs will never catch up…


Then it’s a case of what matters more.

The thing or the thought of the thing.

Do you want to think of yourself as a painter?

Or do you want to paint?

Perhaps that’s why there are Van Gogh exhibits all over the world.

He never thought of himself as a painter.

He just painted.

I used to want to think of myself as a writer.

Now I just write.

I used to want to think of myself as an engineer.

Now I just code.

Maybe my attitude will catch up.

Maybe not.

Trying to close the gap is exhausting.

Maybe that’s why Van Gogh took a knife to side of his head.

What comes first?

Do you have to be crazy before cutting off your own ear?

Or does cutting off your own ear make you crazy?

You know what's crazier than cutting off your ear?

The other side of the coin, attitude without behaviour.

Thinking you're something without actually doing the thing.

No skin in the game.

There are times where the less you know can lead to welcome surprises.

Beginner’s luck!

Or even just the attitude of knowing little yet behaving in a way that favours figuring it out.

Do that and time becomes your ally.

That’s a wedding I’d like to go to. Beginner’s mind and skill.

The wise old man who appears like a fool.

Thank the cosmos for the people who try to do the thing before they think they can do the thing.

Because there’s nothing more energising than seeing someone creating, trying, making, giving it a go.

In spite of the uncertainty.

Now that’s my favourite kind of attitude.