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The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating

David Kadavy

Personal Thoughts

Summary Notes

Art is Self-Actualization

  • When we create our art, it’s a process of self-actualization. Your true self is constantly in conflict with the expectations of the world around you. Is it okay to do this? Will this make someone mad? Will I embarrass myself? Will I be stripped of my “best behaved” award?
  • To find the heart to start, you have to listen to that chatter. Not to heed its advice, but to tell it why it’s dead wrong.
  • When our true self doesn’t get a chance to follow its desires – when it doesn’t get the creative exercise necessary to arm it with a vocabulary in which to express itself – it acts out in strange ways.
  • The only way to become your true self is to find the art inside you and make it real. Your art is the best expression possible of who you really are. You make art when you take your passions, your interests, and even your compassion for others, and combine them to make something uniquely yours.

Ego and Art

  • Ego doesn’t just make you act arrogant or criticize others. Ego also causes you to make excuses for yourself.
  • Think of ego as a shell that covers up the self. The ego is there to protect the self from the elements in any way it can. It’s like Ryan Holiday, author of Ego is the Enemy, told me: “The reason ego exists is comfort.”
  • If you put your art out there, it might not be any good. So the ego will come up with excuses to not start. You’re still doing research, you don’t have the time, or there’s a crack on your laptop screen.
  • Sometimes resistance comes in the form of raw fear. But usually, it doesn’t. This is because admitting you’re scared does too much damage to the self. That’s why the ego is so good at coming up with other reasons.
  • This is the third law of art: Your Ego Fears Your Art. If you start making your art, you’re going to expose your self to discomfort.
  • Your ego fears your art because if you follow your art, you will self-actualize. You will become your true self. But to do so, you will experience failure, and rejection, and fear.


  • That Which Pulls You Through is the thing that is so strong it can fuel you through the inevitable discomfort of making your art real.
  • That Which Pulls You Through will help you persevere through the tough parts, but it can also be the fuel to get you started.
  • J. K. Rowling once recalled that, as she was writing the first Harry Potter book, she experienced the death of her mother, divorce, unemployment, and clinical depression, and she even considered suicide. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life,” she said.

The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating

David Kadavy
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