Give More, Expect Less


Hey friends,

A lot of creators end up making things they’re not excited or passionate about.

I’ve done this a few times in the past: if you know what you’re doing, you can get lots of views from lazy, recycled content. But it can sometimes feel a little soul-destroying.

And viewers pick up on that negative vibe. Like Visakan Veerasamy says: “if I’m not having a good time, everything I do gets contaminated by the subtle resentment that builds up. I don’t want that.”

The solution might be what YouTuber Ryan Trahan calls Redemptive Work.

Instead of cranking out content to get maximum views, Ryan treats every video as a gift to the viewer:

Instead of toiling for profit, we’re going to create for restoration. Instead of exhausting ourselves for an extra buck, we’re going to creatively instil in this project as much as we can, so that whoever receives this receives it as a gift, and is rejuvenated by it. […]

And it’s crazy… the more we’ve been able to pour into the videos creatively to give a gift to people, the more views that we’re seeing.

And I think it’s because it’s received as a gift.

It’s better for him, it’s better for the audience, and it’s way more sustainable.

When you’re in the gift-giving mindset, you’re just trying to make something fun. Something you’re proud of on an artistic level. So whatever you create will be filled with positive vibes, that’ll draw people in.

Of course, if you want to be a professional creator, there’s some strategy involved. You need to ask ‘what do people actually want’ before giving a gift. But you can do that without manipulating people into watching at all costs. If you can do good work and serve enough people, the money should take care of itself. In theory.

Other creators have spotted that the idea of giving a gift is pretty powerful:

Austin Kleon: “When you feel as though you’ve lost or are losing your gift, the quickest way to recover is to step outside the marketplace and make gifts.”

Tiago Forte: “I believe service and pleasure can be one and the same, like two sides of the same coin. By asking yourself how you can be of service, you evolve into a more generous person who you enjoy seeing in the mirror.”

Brendon Burchard: “When you feel the drive to serve others, you sustain solid performance longer.”

When I sit down for my morning journaling session, I often wonder about my purpose as a creator: What am I doing? Why am I doing it? And it’s comforting that after thousands of words of writing, my conclusion is broadly the same as Ryan’s:

Ali, be less outcome-dependent. Do your own thing, put it out there, and think of it as a gift you’ve made for the viewer. They can take it or leave it.

So next time you’re doing something creative, maybe ask yourself “who am I making this for? Is this the kind of gift I’d like to give them? Was it made with love?”

And I’ll try to do the same with my videos 😉

Have a great week!

Ali xx

🧠 Notion – Join me in London for a Community Celebration

Notion’s got a lot more powerful in the last few months. Here’s a rundown of everything that’s new.

Not sure how to use all the new features? If you’re London-based, stop by the Notion Pop-Up in Spitalfields Market from 11am-6pm. You can meet, learn from, and share your Notion setup with other Londoners, and enjoy some free coffee & tea, vanilla wheelcakes, matcha donuts, and other stuff.

  • Where: Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW
  • Notion Pop-Up Hours: 6-8 October from 11am-6pm

Afterwards, join me for a special evening celebrating the local Notion community. It’ll be October 6, 6pm at Mindspace Shoreditch, just a few blocks away from the pop-up. Sign up here.

Thanks to Notion for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets. 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast – Max Fosh: The Highs And Lows Of Being A Viral Sensation. Max got famous for faking his way into the London Fashion Week and making a video about it. His career has gone 📈 since then. We chatted about Max’s journey to 1M YouTube subscribers, how he puts together crazy videos, and the highs and lows of being a creator.

📝 Article – I Don’t Wanna! by Visakan Veerasamy. Amazing article on what it’s like to be a writer/creator and not want to do the thing you’re currently working on.

🤳 Tech – Instax Mini Link2 A mini printer that connects to my iPhone and prints off pictures in a few seconds, polaroid-style. Especially good for giving keepsake photos to friends, and for printing mini-photos to paste into my bullet journal (like I did this week for the launch of Season 4 of my Deep Dive podcast).

🚢 Course – Ship 30 for 30. My friends Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole run this amazing online writing course, and the next cohort’s launching soon. If you’d like to sign up, use my code ALI to get a $100 discount.

👕 Clothes – MKBHD Chevron Hoodie. I got one of Marques Brownlee’s custom chevron hoodies this week. Extremely snug, would recommend.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.

Paula Poundstone, quoted in The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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