If you’ve never created anything, you might be trapped in a mental prison.

In year 8, my art teacher told me my drawing was bad. So I stopped drawing.

In year 12, my English teacher said my writing was too repetitive and didn’t have enough structure. So I stopped writing.

My best friend and I went to gym. We started doing pushups and I couldn’t do 1. He could do 5, 6, 7 maybe 15. He told me to keep going. To start with 1. I listened.

Now me and another friend are doing 100 pushups per day for 30 days. Why? Because.

I’m doing sets of 12 as I write this. 7 sets of 12, 1 set of 16. I’m 3 sets down.

The difference between these stories is two held me back and one pushed me forward.

That’s a good explanation. I could blame being held back from creating on the words of my teachers. But the real explanation is I held myself back. I locked myself in a mental prison and the words of others were the keys.

4 sets down.

You might be the same. Held back by the words of another. Which is really being held back by the version of the story you’re telling yourself.

One way to get around it. To pick the lock of the mental prison you’re in. Is to race to 100.

5 sets down.

If you want to get better at drawing, you could race to draw 100 different things. Draw people, draw places, draw food, draw animals. Try different styles, colour, black and white, digital, free hand.

My writing started to improve when I started publishing more. When I started reading back my own words. When I started telling myself, this is good but it could be better. When I started obsessing over how different words looked in the presence of others.

You could race to publish 100 different articles. Most will be bad, don’t worry, most of mine are. 5-6 will be good and 1-2 might be great. Write at different lengths, on different topics, stories, poems, how to’s.

6 sets down.

The process repeats itself for whatever it is you choose to do.

My little brother is getting into live streaming himself playing video games. I used to be addicted to video games. I’m not anymore but I love seeing him make something of it. Every day, he tells me what he’s done. He gets excited when he hits a new milestone. It’s contagious. He tells me. I’m small now. I can’t earn a living from it now. But I know if I keep going, I will. I believe him. He’d be nearing 100 days in a row. Maybe more.

7 sets down. 16 to go.

There’s a reason 100 days of code is a thing. Day 1, 2, 3, 4 you’ll feel like you’re getting some quick wins. Learning the principles. Getting off knowing 0. But as days 53, 54, 87 come in, things will start to get harder. Day to day it won’t seem like you learn much but after the 100 days, when you compare yourself to day 0, you’ll have come leaps and bounds.

Does it have to be day to day?

No. Of course not.

Writing every day works for me because it’s easy to remember. I ask myself, did I write an article today? If the answer’s no, I start writing.

It’s the same with this pushup challenge. Before I started writing, I’d done 0 push ups. But I agreed to do 100 per day for 30 days. So I got creative and said why not do both at the same time and see what happens?

Now they’re done. 100 push ups. 13 days in a row.

One inspired the other.

You can do the same. Inspiration is fleeting. It won’t always show up and when it does, it tends not to stick around.

The solution?

Race to your first 100.

Writing? Publish 100 articles.

Coding? Spend 100 hours coding.

Making videos? Make 100 videos.

Taking photos? Take photos of 100 different things.

Getting fitter? Do 100 pushups a day. Can’t do 100 in a day? Do 1 a day and increase it until you can.

Once you hit 100. Reassess. Where could you be better? Ask yourself, is this for me? If so, what could the next 100 look like? If not, what's the next first 100?

The secret of the mental prison is you’re the inmate and the guard at the same time.

The keys are in your hands.