January 28th, 2019
I watched a YouTube video yesterday changed my life in a big way.
The video is called Forced Positivity by PewDiePie, or Felix Kjellberg. I’m a big fan of Felix. I wrote a post a while back about his evolution as a creator.
In this video, he calls out other creators for forcing positivity in their videos. He suggests that many YouTubers are leading viewers on to believe that they are happy all of the time.
But this blog post isn’t about the state of YouTube creators…
His personal struggle
I think what’s more interesting about this video is the story that Felix tells about his personal experience faking positivity in his old videos…
Felix used to mainly create content about video games. For years, he would just make videos about that. He was very successful doing this.
But over time, he grew tired of making that type of content.
He claims that, at one point, he would turn the camera on, be super happy and excited, and then once the camera was off, he would be irritable. I think we can all relate to that!
But even though he was getting tired of making that content, his fans were not - and his channel was growing to become the biggest YouTube channel of all time.
Effectively, he had two choices:
1. Change up his content, piss off his fans, risk his channel “falling off” and be happy.
2. Keep the same formats, cater to his fans, and be miserable.
Obviously, #1 is the right thing to do. But most people pick #2. The idea of falling off is too scary. You’ve worked too hard to fail like that.
Why #1 is always the right decision
In hindsight, Felix obviously made the right decision (he picked #1).
In the short term, he pissed off some of his subscribers, but in the long term he is happier and (luckily) he also saw even more success.
The reason why #1 is always right is because of passion. If you choose #2, you will lose your passion. Sure, you can still pump out videos for a year and continue to get those dopamine hits of success, marginally growing your channel, but eventually you will burn out.
Passion is the fire that keeps you showing up every day, for years. Passion is the thing that will make your work not suck.
And this is why Felix has been so big for so long. His content, style, etc has evolved based on his passions. He can still show up every day on YouTube and be generally happy.
This video shows why Felix is the biggest creator on the planet - he is honest, stays true to himself, and does not make decisions based on numbers or success.
You must “niche down”
But following your passions is actually contrary to other advice you may hear.
You hear this phrase all the time… if you want success, you must niche down, or you need to get really good at one thing.
Although that’s probably good advice if you want to be successful, it’s definitely not going to give you happiness over the long term (by long term I’m talking 20 years).
At least for me, doing the same thing over and over again eventually takes a toll. Although it may bring success in the short term, it will eventually lead to burnout and quitting.
Do you know who is really good at doing the same thing over and over again? Companies. That’s what they are designed to do. As people, we are not - we need to keep evolving to be happy.
How this relates to me
So how did this video change my life? This is something I’ve been feeling a lot over the last month.
For 2019, I set crazy goals to try and accomplish things that I know will bring me short term success. I’m just realizing now that to accomplish those goals, I will need to do things that don’t really make me happy - and like Felix - it’s hard to find the passion for them.
Mentally, it’s wearing me down… I’m not looking forward to sitting down and doing some of this work I’ve set out to do. I want things to feel like they did one year ago, where I was literally overjoyed to sit down for 8 hours on a Saturday and ship side projects.
Now, it feels like “work”. It feels like burnout. And that’s exactly what I want to avoid - I quit my job to avoid that shit.
Yesterday, I was feeling mad shitty. I was debating with myself… Why can’t I get more done? Why can’t I get motivated to ship this feature that is next on my to-do list?
And then I realized it! It’s because I don’t give a fuck about the thing that’s on the top of my to-do list.
It’s like when people ask me to create a podcast for Starter Story. In theory, yes, it is a great idea and it would make me money. But I don’t have any passion for it! I would be fucking miserable doing it.
So I went through my to-do lists and did some deleting :)