We often feel a lot of pressure when making our Twitch channels. Not only in setting them up, but throughout the process of trying to build our brands. "There are so many other people out there doing the same thing- what if I'm not growing as fast, why can't I produce as much content as them, and for that matter, who am I to think I should be asking people to watch me in the first place?" These are very common questions among new streamers, but in truth we're all susceptible to these moments of self-consciousness. And as many of us have learned the hard way, this line of thinking can lead your channel down a path of destruction.
There's no way to get rid of this nagging feeling entirely, as it's a natural part of the human experience. But it is possible to give these self-doubts much less hold over your streaming life. I call this method 'streaming with strategic ignorance.' When you stream with strategic ignorance, you carefully control the amount of outside influences that reach you, and in doing so create an environment free of as many harmful comparisons as possible. When I started streaming this way, suddenly I was no longer a small fish swimming around in a big scary pond, I was just a fish that swam because swimming was what I liked to do- I couldn't care less about what the pond looked like.
➢ AVOID INFLUENCES
The largest component in creating a healthier environment for streaming is to avoid comparisons. This can be broken down into two separate steps: First, eliminate as many outside influences as possible. Then, learn not to measure yourself against the influences that do reach you.
|Control the digital flow of information.|
Second, in the entry Learn to Love the Grind of Twitch Streaming, I actually suggested that you not watch a lot of other streams either. Like with social media, binging on other people's content is a killer of personal growth. Plus, for every other Twitch stream you watch, you'll gain a plethora of new insecurities about how you don't measure up. Of course having said that, it's important to meet other streamers, network and gain inspiration. Don't avoid contact with other streamers altogether, but realize that doing so will always be a tradeoff. You're building friendships and getting inspired, but you're also accumulating mental baggage, whether you realize it or not. Don't let that baggage get so heavy that you're no longer able to use the inspiration you've gained. Meeting another streamer, getting to know them and joining for some of their shows is one thing- sitting around and watching more hours of streams than you actually create is another. Learn where to draw the line.
➢ START AND DON'T LOOK BACK
In the entry Stream Before You're Ready, I told the story of how John Lennon and Paul McCartney were already performing before they even knew all the basic guitar chords. They didn't let a lack of knowledge get in the way of doing the thing they loved, they just learned along the way. And I think it's safe to say they did a pretty good job at their chosen craft. As I spoke about in that entry, the acquisition of knowledge can actually harm the creative process and the creative drive. Before starting our channels, we often think that gathering as much information as possible is going to somehow make us better streamers, but all it ever does is make us better at recognizing how unskilled we really are. Skills aren't built by learning, they're built by doing. When they first joined together, Lennon and McCartney didn't know or care whether they were skilled or not- they just made music because it's what they wanted to do. And they formed into one of the greatest rock bands of all time. This is the power of strategic ignorance.
|Celebrate others, but don't measure yourself against them.|
➢ STREAM WITH BLINDERS
When I started on Twitch, I did what just about everyone does. I looked at the most successful channels, tried to break down what made them popular, and attempted to project where I'd be months and years down the line based on the growth I was getting at the time. It was majorly stressful and it ultimately didn't even work. I didn't know it at the time, but I was trapped by very limiting comparisons. Since I started streaming with strategic ignorance however, I've been able to double, triple, and quadruple my output in several different fields. My content has gone in strange directions that viewers have never seen before. And most importantly, I'm ecstatic about streaming all the time. So give it a shot on your own channel- stop taking in so much outside influence and just focus on putting streams out into the world. After all, ignorance is bliss.