Why I abandoned this project for the last 2 months

Why I abandoned this project for the last 2 months
Photo by Warren Wong / Unsplash

I've seen another creator do this. He'd start his journey full of enthusiasm. I was rooting for him, messaging him that he was gonna make it. He actually built a few products.

After a few weeks he suddenly disappeared. I'd write him and he wouldn't even answer.

I was so mad at him.

And now I did the exact same thing. I basically gave up.

"Ah, it's an anonymous account. Whatever. Quit, stop replying. Don't bother. And just get on with your life."

There's usually a huge difference between one's public persona and everything that's going on privately. That's normal.

But to reach and grow an audience, you need to build trust. You need to consistently post and interact, keep your promises and keep building.

So what went wrong?

Well, it's hard to admit failure. It's even harder when the failure is due to some deep intrinsic issues.

In the last few months I basically moved back to my parents' place for a while. I'd had a painful breakup.

After Uganda and the NFTs I thought I'd start a new project but kind of delayed it. And then I just kept delaying it saying it was still gonna happen. And at some point it was easier to just keep pushing it out of the way. Because if I started I would have to face the fact that I basically gave up, and people would blame me.

I have to admit I got a bit depressed.

In the meantime I was looking for an apartment to buy. This took just enough time for me to convince myself I first had to get the apartment sorted out before I could start on a new Shadowy project.

Well, I did it. I bought an apartment, renovated it and moved. There are no more excuses left.

But this was definitely not the only problem.

I noticed I care too much about what other people think of me.

I have to get out of my head, and just start doing. Stop planning. Start doing. Even if it's 1 minute a day. My problem is I feel like I need huge blocks of time or it's not worth it to even start.

My problem is I ruminate a lot. I overthink everything. I could sit to "work" for 12 hours but then just "think" for 10 of those 12 hours. About the most stupid shit.

When I first posted about this 52 projects in 52 weeks challenge, someone replied "No thanks, I have my own ADHD to deal with".

I laughed about it but then things started to click into place. I recently read a book about it and I'm starting to think I might actually have ADHD.

The biggest giveaway is I get really, intensely focused on a project, working 14 hour days on it and then, as sudden as the motivation appeared, it completely disappears and I lose all hope. Then I think what I'm doing sucks and I just.. stop working on it.

Here are some more reasons why I think I have ADHD:

I typically underachieve, but then do something crazy and get ahead in life. Then it's back to underachieving. This has already happened a few times.

I kind of care about status but in a weird, alternative way. "Just wait, they'll see". From the outside it definitely looks like I'm a bum without a proper career.

In high school I would never, ever be able to remember to do homework. I just could not do it.

I did uni (engineering / computer science) without going to classes at all because I felt I could learn better on my own.

I always feel like I have to do things on my own. If others help, it feels like it's not my achievement. I'm extremely stubborn.

I'm always walking around, even while programming. I can not sit still. I talk fast and inadvertently interrupt others.

I'm very offbeat. I have a unique worldview. I typically see trends or technological changes in advance. I have good intuition.

I have a deep desire to make friends, but also have trouble getting close to people, or letting people in my bubble.

I have a very deep sensitivity to criticism and rejection. It's hard for me to be vulnerable.

There's a deep urge to "upgrade" my life all the time, to not be content with "ordinary" life. I always want to turn it up all the way to 11...

I'm not addicted to anything but I think I'm quite susceptible to addictions and compulsive behaviour.

Also: daydreaming, trouble organizing and planning, lots of creativity and imagination, procrastination, impulsiveness, impatience, blaming others, ...

I know this is a rather negative description of myself. I (luckily) also have redeeming qualities, but that's not the point of this article.

The reason I wrote this is to get a better insight into my behaviour, and why I failed to keep the commitment of building 18 projects in a year.

It's now clear to me that I have a few qualities that really do help, and a lot of others that are actively hurting my chances of success. Especially in darker periods (breakups, depression), these negative traits tend to overpower the positive ones. But with some good mitigation strategies, I think I can overcome this.

There's no real conclusion here. I'm in a much better place right now. I feel like I can start building again. And at least at the moment, I feel like I can take on the world...