I'm human, not AI.
Conversations with friends can be very revealing.
My friend Flora is one of my favourite people to talk to. We pretty much raised each other, and despite how busy life gets, I make it a point to visit her once in a while so we can talk the night away. Our relationship is one where we don’t see each other often, but whenever we do, I always leave feeling deeply connected to her. Last night was one of those kinds of nights, and we wrote down bullet points of all the things we wanted to talk about —romantic relationships, career progression, school, where we see ourselves in five years, and projects.
When we got to the projects segment, well deep into the night, we spoke about the fun things we’d both been working on. Flora has a website called Nigerian Content Review, where she shares her opinions on Nigerian movies, and I have this newsletter, 20 Something, that I’ve been building for nine months now.
From the beginning of January, I made it a point to write to you guys every week. At first, it was a little consistency project for me. I wanted to be able to tell myself that I could do it. That the world could be going haywire around me, but I’d still show up for myself and my readers. But then, over time, I started entertaining these thoughts: What if I focus on quality over quantity? Wouldn’t it be better to write a fantastic newsletter once in two weeks than write two where I don’t really know if what I am sharing is that useful? What if I am not inspired enough to write? Should I wring myself dry to create something?
So I shared these concerns with Flora, and she listened, intently, as I mulled over reducing the frequency of my letters. When I was done, she told me: Treasure, you’re human, not AI.
These words jumped at me vividly. My mind latched onto them like a zipper latches onto silk. Then she went on to tell me about how as human beings, our results will not always be uniform, unlike an AI chatbot that spits out answers of a certain quality all the time, but this shouldn’t deter us from showing up for ourselves consistently.
She used the example of going to the gym and how she always finishes her reps, even when she doesn’t have the energy or the motivation to do it. Doing these reps, even when badly done, may feel like hell in the process and might even make her feel silly, but once done, she feels more confident in her ability to show up for herself, which makes her trust herself more.
I like to call it “building soul.” The more you remain consistent in doing the things that are hard but which you know will help you grow, the more you build trust in yourself. And honestly, you feel a lot more at peace and a lot more confident when you trust yourself.
Flora also told me that trying to change the rhythm of things could also be my mind making up excuses to slack off, and it made a lot of sense too. If I say I want to send three newsletters per month, they could easily become two, then one, until this becomes a discarded side project. Once I give room for indiscipline, it is a slippery slope that can lead to places I know I don’t want to be at.
I just thought this conversation was interesting, and it made me realise that consistency is more a maintenance activity than a result-oriented one. If you want to be consistent at something, you have to make peace with the fact that your work might not always make you feel 100% and that’s okay. I am human, not AI. I won’t always have results I am in love with. It doesn’t mean I should stop putting in the work, or showing up, and neither should you.
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Media I Consumed this Week!
Reading: Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. This novel is a multigenerational story about a family and everything that happens within a hundred years. It explores magical realism in very vivid ways and is one of my favourite novels ever. I have read it multiple times.
Listening: A lot of Shakira. Her song, Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol 53 is the best breakup song I have listened to in a while. The pun with Pique’s name is immaculate.
Watching: The most memorable thing I saw this week was episodes 1 and 2 of Boys over Flowers. For many K-drama enthusiasts, this drama was a first bus stop, from which we ventured out to explore others, but watching it again I was stunned by how ridiculous it was. Felt like pure comedy. It was so bad that it was good.