Day one

Photo above by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

If you don’t give it a go, it’s certainly going to fail.
If you don’t put your hand up, you’ll never be chosen.
If you don’t get the words out, they will start to eat you from inside.
If you don’t create it, it’ll turn its attention to a more receptive soul.

Alright. Guilt has no place here.

Let’s put this scarcity mindset away for now.

How might we reframe these questions?

What is the world missing out on if you stay silent?
Who needs to hear what you’ve got to say?
Who are you denying the chance to change if you keep this magic inside of you?
What duty do you have to get it out to them?

Despite what the movies tell us, it’s not very common that people are picked out of crowds or classrooms or dirty restaurants they’re barely making a living working at, by maestros who have the time, talent and connections to nurture these undiscovered prodigies to their full potential.

When we just watch the incredible feats of Olympians, musicians or artists, we’re far more likely to describe their accomplishments in the terms of talent, gifts, or natural athleticism, says Angela Duckworth.

“We prefer our excellence fully-formed. We prefer mystery to mundanity.” (Grit, p. 39)

And then she discovers that Nietzsche can help us figure out why.

Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius… For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking… To call someone ‘divine’ means: ‘here there is no need to compete.’

Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits

It turns out that a high level of performance is simply the accumulation of many tedious, uneventful, everyday acts (Grit, p. 38).

The beauty of this realisation? We can’t hide. We can pick ourselves, any time.

We can choose to start living like a professional, any time. Notice that I didn’t write “acting”.

We live in a culture where there is such a low barrier to entry to create what we want to create. You know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re reading this, it’s not lack of resources for, or a wavering commitment to the thing you’re secretly enamoured with.

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

I think it’s most likely fear of being wrong, being ridiculed, or worse – being ignored.

Someone I quote rather often has a brilliant antidote to this.

Of course your next project isn’t going to delight everyone. That’s impossible. It’s certain that for some people, your project is going to be a failure. At the same time, it’s also quite unlikely that your project will please no one. So now, we can agree that it’s all on a spectrum, and that success and failure are merely localized generalizations.

Once you realize that failure is certain, it’s a lot easier to focus on impact instead.

So who can you impact with your words?
Who needs to hear your voice?
When will you begin?

Any day can be day one.

Jennie Armstrong

2 Replies to “Day one”

  1. You are doing really well with this. Each one prods and kicks me !!

    Sent from my iPhone so please excuse the grammar etc. Jon

    >

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