Thursday, November 17, 2011

Robbing The World

I entered a contest yesterday, at the last minute. I'd been thinking about it for weeks, but I didn't sit down and write my entry until a few hours before it was due.

It was the first time I've put myself up to be judged in a while. A long... long... long while.

I was probably using something like this the last time I entered a contest.
Of course, you could say that by blogging I open myself to be judged, but this is different. I'm talking about being judged on my creativity. This raw feeling had me revisiting an old lifetime query...

Why do I procrastinate? Why don't I ever give it my all?
But, the answer is simple.

I procrastinate because I fear that if I ever really tried, I could really fail.

Well, doesn't that just make me a clever one?
Of course, it doesn't.

But, what puts me on another level is that I think about it. If I never really push myself to work harder and stop procrastinating (which would inevitably result in better work) what would happen?

My response: Who cares what would happen?
It's not happening.

And a thought came to me...

I am robbing myself of my potential. Each little failure doesn't hurt when I know I just rushed "my best effort" in a last minute rally. But, years and years built up of little failures due to half-tries make me think I am setting myself up for ultimate failure.

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." Abraham Lincoln

This contest, while I have no idea how I will fare, was something I wanted to win. I wasn't content with my submission. If I lose, I will not be "content" with my loss. So, I sit here, tapping my foot nervously because I have no confidence in my work... because deep down, I know I should have been working on it so much more. When I find out the results, I'll think, "Okay, that's that. Now, let's move forward to something else."

On a whole, little failures don't bother me. I will move forward in some way or another. But, the idea of all the failures characterizing my life blows my mind. I don't want my life to be characterized by little failures.

So, I guess I better board the train and get on with trying. Give myself a real shot with all the potential I have inside of me. My guess is there are plenty of you out there who are in the same boat. Skip the boat and board the train with me.


  1. That is an oustanding perspective, and very well said! Great job on putting your work out there like that! Still room on the train? I'm in!

  2. better to have tried and failed that to have never tried at all. Sure, it would be better to give it your all, but it could also be worse - you could be not even trying.

    And if you fail, then learn something from it - even if the lesson is 'try harder'.

  3. Well put! And I think you hit it right on the head about being afraid of trying your hardest and still failing. Very insightful.

    In case this is useful:

    I have a large box full of writing projects I started, but never finished, when I was younger. Spanning a good 20 years.

    Then one day when I was wringing my hands about my procrastination, a wise person suggested that I do this self-guided meditation:

    Picture yourself at the end of your life. You are on your deathbed. See who is there with you. And then reflect back on your life. What were the things you did that you now realize were truly important? Was there anything you did *not* do, that you now realize you should have -- that you now deeply regret not doing? Now that it's too late?

    It was the existential kick in the butt I needed. Within a year of doing that exercise I had finally completed my first novel. It was unpublishable but it was at least done . . .

  4. You know I'm right there with you on this. We've talked about it before, but I could not have said it any better.

    Keep trying and take the failure knowing that you tried and next time you may have to try harder, but eventually you'll get there.

    I know I need to take my own advice, lol. This is a great blog Ashley! Keep writing!