When I was a kid I was terrified of crowded buses. I was afraid that I would find myself away from the door, and I wouldn’t be able make my way through the crowd. Indeed, kind of a stupid thing to be afraid of, but if you think about it, the most subtle way life can test you whether you really want something is to put someone stand in your way.
It’s one of the most difficult things to do: to push people out of your way. And it’s more about fear than it’s about kindness. It’s more about self-indulgence than it is about altruism.
To a certain degree, we’re all self-centered, but we’re also afraid of others. We don’t want to be invisible, but we don’t want to be punished either. We want to be comfortable. That’s it, basically. And we learn early on that other people have the power to disturb that comfort.
Ever since I started this blog I’ve met a lot of brilliant artists, some of which are far better at their craft that I could ever hope to become at mine. And yet, they’re afraid. They don’t really want it, they just kind of want it. They’re afraid to take risks, to give something up for that great work of art they’ve always wanted to create.
They don’t want to give up the comfortable life they have in order to build all the dreams they have stored up in their hearts. They don’t want to fail, they’re afraid people are going to hate what they do, or even worse, that they won’t care.
They repeatedly tell me (and themselves) that they’re only doing this for fun. It’s just a hobby, a passion reserved for when the stars align in just the right way so they can put pen to paper. But then they tell me that it would be nice to have it all: to be able to do what they love doing most in the world over and over again, without having to worry about money or bills or taxes, they’d love to be able to show the entire world what their own minds have created. They’d love to spend the strangest hours of the night reading e-mails from fans.
They want to inspire and change and build, but they feel now it’s not the time. They’re not good enough, or they haven’t saved up enough money. They’re too young, they’re too complicated, they’re too alone or happy. They’re not good enough.
Sadly, now it’s never the time to do it. In fact, I have the strange habit of giving up everything in order to furiously stroll my fingers against the keyboard at the worst possible time. Just before the entire world goes bankrupt and I almost starve to death. That’s a nice example.
The truth is, and I’m afraid I can’t lie to you, it’s not enough to be really good at something. In art or life or love or whatever, being really good is only one ingredient. Luck plays its part as well, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
You know, I’ve always enjoyed to aimlessly wander around town. Sometimes I stop and stare around at all these people hurriedly walking past me, and I ask myself: “Are they in such a hurry because they’re going to fulfill their most ambitious dream or are they simply running away from it?”
What you dream up matters to no one but yourself. Never forget that. But what you do about it, how you decide to act, that’s a whole different thing.
I figured this part early on: that’s what separates me from about everyone else. I picked one dream, just one out of the billion or so I have collected over the years, and I have decided to make it come true. And I’m not willing to give up.
If you’ve been following this blog for at least a week, then you know about this campaign where we tried to raise the funds we needed to publish a collection of short stories. We came close, but we didn’t quite make it.
Other people would have been devastated by this.
What did I do? Well, for starters, I quit my job as a waiter. It was taking too much time, and I was kind of giving up all my time for a pack of cigarettes a day. I’d much rather quit smoking, quit eating, and give up sleep, than spend another month without being able to write. Or even blog. Or read all the nice e-mails people sometimes decide to send me.
Then I started another campaign, where we’re trying to raise the difference we need in order to release our book. So, if you want us to release that book, if you really like our writing and want us to succeed, you can help us out here.
You know that really famous quote that’s sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein? “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
I’ve always thought it to be the definition of perseverance.