Thoughts on wasting your own creative juice
I suffer from a poisonous combination of what individually may be considered positive attributes:
- Addicted to learning from everything and anything (books, podcasts, experiences, online courses, and people)
- A two year old’s curiosity
- A natural ability to quickly pick up new skills
- An entrepreneurial + growth mindset = a desire to create and grow
Thanks to this formula and a sudden swerve to the road less traveled, I’ve been able to create almost anything at a non-stop rate. At least, that’s what my mind thought.
In the past 4 years, I have:
- Graduated business school. Then passed on a cushy cubicle job to work for peanuts at an MMA gym in Hawthorne.
- Trained Muay Thai in Thailand for a month because I thought it would be a good life experience, received my purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, starting fighting in MMA.
- Won the Bantamweight U of MMA belt (amateur MMA).
- Picked up a camera because I loved this BJJ video and thought I could make things like that too. Began shooting my own videos and landed a dream job shooting for Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida’s manager, allowing me to meet many legends of the sport.
- Started a non-profit, the Mana Kids Foundation, to help underprivileged kids in LA train in martial arts.
- Started my own (failing) clothing brand Mana Sport.
- Landed some nice side gigs in graphic design which stemmed from learning Illustrator in order to create walkout shirts for my teammates.
Shiny Object Syndrome
I’m sending out an SOS — I suffered from a bad case of shiny object syndrome. Jiu Jitsu, MMA, graphic design, videography, business, I always had enough talent to start and find quick success, but I rarely finished.
I was even warned by someone I look up to, Brendan Hufford, that I was doing too much and needed to narrow my focus. (I had the opportunity to speak with him in an online course I bought, which — go figure — I didn’t finish, and still feel terrible about. Sorry, Brendan.)
If only I had listened to him.
Trying to do too much made me feel busy. Feeling busy + actually being busy + dieting, weight cutting, and all the other fun stuff that go along with being a fighter = extreme burnout. This burnout led to depression right before my title fight, which I documented after the fact.
I still didn’t learn my lesson. I started more projects, and took on more responsibilities with my day job at the gym. When the creative juice was abundant, squeezing was the only thing I knew how to do.
And even that was beginning to feel pointless.
Too Many Cups
I over poured my creative juice. The problem wasn’t over-squeezing; I was pouring into way too many cups. I was like the damn Giving Tree with my creative juice.
I needed to kill the cups.
So I ended my first company, a black hole for money, and I quit my job at the gym, the only stable source of income I had. This may be another crazy move, but it’s the right one.
Those were the two biggest cups, ones that would never be filled. Ones that sapped my energy.
I’d love to know, do you over pour your creative juice? When is enough, enough?
I’m comfortable with getting punched in the face in a cage, in my underwear, in front of friends, family, fans, and haters. But I was absolutely terrified to write this post.
I had to publicly admit failure. As an Asian kid, an A-student, and a perfectionist, this was hard.
But you know what? It was definitely worth the squeeze.
I’ll be combining many of my passions into one cup, which you can check out at vincecachero.com.
Next up: Vlogging my entire 2 week trip to Thailand to watch my friends get married. (Traveling with a bunch of fighters + alcohol + Thai ladyboys = epic trip.)