You’re NOT The Next Ninja – Here’s Why Leave a comment

2019 is nearing a close and throughout the year we’ve all heard Fortnite kids proclaiming that they’re the next Ninja and TTV Wraiths justifying dropping Skulltown by saying they’re the next Shroud – seriously, they’ve got this bro – and most of you reading this probably also have someone you look up to and want to be the next iteration of. Not too long ago my friends and I were going to be the next Hat Films. That’s never going to happen though. Let’s talk about brand identity, job titles, goals, dreams, and definitions of success because those are the things we need to cover to explain why you are not the next Ninja.

I’m going to start with the factor that should be the most obvious but probably isn’t to you: brand identity.

Let’s start by looking at Ninja’s brand, what is it?

He’s an incredibly good Fortnite player, who hosts PG streams to appeal to a younger audience. His brand goes far deeper than that, but those are the important details for us to start with.

Next, let’s look at your brand, what is your brand?

Try and write it down. Are you PG? Have you ever streamed with a person of another sex? Are most of your viewers rather young and sheltered or innocent? Do you play Fortnite and are you good? Will you still be playing Fortnite when you “make it”?

If you answered no to any of those, sweet, you just figured out why you aren’t the next Ninja. If you never thought you were, repeat this exercise for Shroud or whoever else you thought you were the next release of.

If you’re still confused we can delve deeper and get something else out of the way. If you are aiming to be the next Ninja you’re dealing with incredibly close and direct competition, who has already succeeded, and that doesn’t work. Direct competition is why Mixer can’t beat Twitch, it’s why the local supermarket knockoff isn’t better than real coca-cola – even if you’ve never tried it – and why no-one can ever be the next Ninja. To beat a direct competitor you either have to be noticeably better than your established competition (which is near impossible, the best is the best for a reason) or you have to be cleverly different. And there’s another catch to this: if you do manage to achieve either of those options, you’re suddenly not the next or current Ninja, you’re either far better, or your brand is different, and no longer in line, and therefore no longer directly competing with, Ninja. With that in perspective, you can stop focusing on becoming the next Ninja and be more focussed on what your actual brand is, but we’re not done, there is more to not being the next Ninja and succeeding as the next you!

Speaking of succeeding, let’s talk about definitions of success. What is yours? Quite possibly it could be becoming the next Ninja, even though I’ve already explained why that is impossible. If you do still believe you’re going to become the next Ninja, let me make you not, because quite frankly, for your sanity and that of those around you, It’s time to stop.

On a base level, everyone’s ultimate goal in life is to achieve “success”. That’s a much more complicated and abstract concept than most people realize though. Success is not necessarily having a stable job or being financially secure, it’s actually whatever you decide you want it to be for yourself, and it can vary massively between two people. What is important is that your definition of success is achievable to you and that it can be worked towards in some way, no matter how small, every single day. Working towards success is how one ultimately achieves happiness, and conversely not making perceivable progress towards success is a major cause of depressive spells. This is why sometimes it can feel very depressing to work a “dream job” that your parents set out for you, but at the same time learning a new trick at the skate park can have you beaming with pride and happiness for a month. That job your parents gave you just doesn’t feel like success.

So how does this apply to streaming and not being the next Ninja? There’s a good chance you’ve figured part of that out by now, but here it is: becoming the next Ninja probably isn’t really your definition of success, and if it is, it probably shouldn’t be for the sake of your happiness and mental health. So what’s wrong with becoming the next Ninja as a definition of success?

It’s not quantifiable, it’s not achievable and you can’t work towards it in a meaningful way on a daily basis (streaming or playing Fortnite daily doesn’t count, it’s probably counterproductive even).

So what should your definition of success be then? That’s a tough one, and not something I can tell you, but I can guide you towards it through the next topic we’re covering here: dreams!

A dream is a pretty simple thing, you almost certainly already know what one is, you might even know what your dream is, and it ties in very closely with definitions of success. It’s that thing, or those things, that when you daydream about your idyllic future you see yourself having achieved. You should always be aware of what your dream is, and you should always believe in your dream. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! If you don’t know what your dream is, take a break from reading this for a moment and meditate on it. I’m not joking, meditation is good, and if that word turns you off, daydream. Sit somewhere comfortable, lie on your bed, cuddle your dog, and let your mind wander to a happy place, and then figure out what makes that place so happy. This should help you find what your dream is.

Now that you know what your dream is, let’s quantify that and turn it into an achievable definition of success. I don’t know how to do that except by giving an example, so here’s the example of myself.

My dream is to be surrounded by smiling faces, to make as many people happy as possible and to spread care in the world. That’s pretty abstract, so it can’t be a good definition of success, but let’s turn it into one. First, let’s make that clearer, and I’m going to dip into my passion for content creation to do this: I want to entertain as many people as possible.

That’s much clearer than before, but It’s still not quantifiable. Let’s quantify it, shall we?

I want to be recognized on an international scale as an entertainer.

Now I have something I can know I’ve achieved. I haven’t attached numbers to it, which would be ideal, but we don’t live in an ideal world, and at least like this I can know that I’ve achieved success when I receive acclaim in some form or another as an entertainer, be it an IGN article about me, being invited to a panel at TwitchCon, or many other forms of recognition in the industry which I have chosen.

Numbers are quite important to track progress though, and goals can help massively with that, so let’s dive into those!

A goal is a stepping stone towards a definition of success. It’s a small, easily achievable milestone that you can pass and tell yourself that you’re making it; That success isn’t quite so difficult. A goal is that little rock you’re climbing to get a little bit further towards the peak on the mountain of success.

I know that that sounds incredibly cliche, but goals are incredibly important for keeping yourself motivated. Your definition of success can often feel near impossible, and that can be demoralizing sometimes, but you can get over that if you break it down into smaller, more achievable and even more quantifiable mini successes, or goals. Goals should be easy. Goals shouldn’t be daunting. You should face one goal at a time. The best and easiest way for me to explain how to set goals and why they’re important is to tell you the story of the mental struggle that was my first triathlon. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before. In hindsight that should have been my first goal, but I was too busy fretting about the success, finishing it. The morning came, I got ready and I went to the venue. I looked at the dam I had to swim in. It was rather daunting. I looked at the buoys and the route and realized that 1000m was a lot further than it sounded, and instantly started panicking that I already wouldn’t finish because of that. But then something clicked in my head. “you know what, the first buoy isn’t that far from the start line, and the second buoy isn’t much farther than that”.

This is the first time I remember breaking down a success into smaller successes. First thing was first, get my bike ready for the ride, and strip down to my speedo. I did that. The first goal was done. I walked to the start line slightly early and sat on the grass. The second goal was done. The event started and I dived into the water. Another goal completed. I made it to the first buoy at the rear, but I made it, and as it turns out that was a good strategy, there’s less clutter. Yet another goal was done. I did the swim buoy by buoy and made it out calmly in the middle of the pack, even though swimming is my weakest of the three disciplines. Next was the ride. I approached it hill by hill, achieved plenty of small goals, and by the end of it, I was exhausted. From the changeover station, I could see the finish line, but I knew it was a round route, 5km if I remember correctly. I looked at the greater success and I panicked. I was so tired, what would I do? But I breathed and put my shoes and shorts on, and broke my goals down even tinier. It was every step. Every step was a goal. In my head all I needed to do to finish the race before the cutoff was to never stop taking steps, never stop running. I was so focused on the goal of each step It took me a moment to realize that I had crossed the finish line. I made it to the podium. I had over-achieved my success because I broke it down into minuscule goals.

And that same methodology is how I do, and how you should, approach streaming and content creation. Right now, at this very moment, my goal is to finish writing this article. In a bit, I’ll also make a video of it for my YouTube channel. These are both parts of the larger goal of growing my audience, primarily on twitch, to achieve the larger goal of 15 average viewers on twitch, which is one of many goals on my way to my definition of success.

Finally, let’s talk about possibly the most important topic in this article: job titles. When you work for yourself this can be quite difficult to identify, even more so with streaming. You might think you don’t have one, or perhaps you’re giving yourself the wrong one. Giving yourself the right job title is very important for motivation and believing in yourself. Most streamers you might talk to in a similar stage of growth to me will call themselves a “new streamer” or, even worse, a “small streamer”. You might not realize it, but when you say these things you’re adding an identification to your work as a streamer, also known as a job title. These job titles are negative. They’ll keep you in the mind-frame of being new and inexperienced, or small, with little to no growth. Giving yourself these job titles qualifies as settling, and giving up.

Hearing that probably makes you mad, but don’t worry, we’re giving you a promotion! Everyone loves getting a promotion!

But what is that promotion? What is a good job title for you? Well let’s mash together everything discussed in this article so far: brand identity, success, goals, and dreams; let’s combine those with where you’re at right now to give you a fitting job title. Here’s mine: Budding entertainer and content creator with excellent tech and industry knowledge.

That sounds pretty fun, doesn’t it? I’ll break it down word by word so you can make your job title by analyzing it

“budding” is in concept the same as small, but it implies growth, and I am growing. I called myself a small streamer for a long time, and that 3 viewer average didn’t move a muscle. Since I started using the word “budding” or “growing” I started growing every stream. 3.1 viewers. 3.2 viewers. 3.3 viewers. From October to September I went from 3.9 average viewers to 4.7. It took me months to break that 4 viewer average barrier until I changed my mindset, and now in less than a month I’ve already broken the 5 viewer average, I’m at 5.3 viewers right now. Stop calling yourself small!

“Entertainer” – there’s my dream. I’m an entertainer already, my dream is to a certain extent realized. God does that feel good. It’s motivational as heck, but as Genji would say “Mada Mada”, I’m not done yet.

“Content Creator” – well that one is unavoidable, we’re all streamers, I just choose to use the word content creator as it also encompasses other platforms, like writing articles and making YouTube videos. It’s closer to my passion and makes me feel just a little bit more special.

Lastly, let’s hit that one phrase in one go “excellent tech and industry knowledge”. Other streamers I talk to compare me to EposVox and Harris Heller, two established people in the industry working with tech and the business of streaming. And it’s because I am knowledgeable, and I love that, and it motivates me, and it’s my brand. Put your brand in your job title too, you’d be surprised how good it makes you feel.

And that’s that. I hope you’ve been taking notes, and writing down your takeaways from this article. I hope that you realize now that you’re not the next iteration of another successful streamer, but rather the first iteration of yourself, and that is considerably better. It’s always good to have something you can read to remind you of your takes on everything we’ve discussed today. I have a notepad document on my desktop that has my definition of success in it, as well as my brand identity and job title. Never lose sight of these things, and good luck in your content creating endeavors!

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