Before publishing my last article about having desires to become a legend, I was overcome with fear, aggression, embarrassment, apprehension and a host of other feelings I’m not even consciously aware of.
When we know we have to do something important to make major changes in our lives, we tend to give ourselves excuses as to why we would be better off laying low and maintaining the average routine.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Here’s a sampling of my own internal conflict during the minutes leading up to hitting that “Publish” button:
- This is bullshit! No one needs to know this about me. Besides, no one cares.
- You shouldn’t be saying those things! It’s so embarrassing, talking about yourself like that. This is a personal journey and saying it out loud will weaken your resolve to make these kinds of changes in your life.
- Think this over a little while. Sleep on it before you put this out into the world. Once it’s out there, you’ll have to back it up with continuous proof that you’re actually doing what you said.
- I just want to write my novel. Why do we have to go through all these hoops to get recognized?! I need to just lock myself in a room and shut out the world so I can get this damn book done already!
- This will only serve to distract you from the goal of writing stories…
…and so on.
What a cluster flush of an emotional toilet spiral I went through. I was literally rolling around on the floor groaning about the plight of a creative writer.
Pretty laughable when looking back on it, especially since at the time of writing this, only a few will even get notified of my latest publication. I’m hoping that will change, but it obviously won’t if I listen to the badvice my inner demons are whispering to me.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Hopefully we can pull those mental messages into the light from deep down below the conscious.
Being the private person that I am, I have a deep desire to be left alone. People are a huge distraction and it is damn near debilitating how badly I get wrapped up in the emotions and affairs of others. My productivity is severely hindered while in the presence of other humans.
Feelings of embarrassment bubble up when saying I want to be a legend. It sounds more like a joke to most people (I would assume) because they aren’t or can’t pursue that kind of outcome for themselves. Also, it is true that no one cares right now. The idea is that with enough persistence and determination, they’ll be forced to care when I achieve this and bring massive value to the world.
Unfortunately, in the past, I’ve spent so much of my life telling people what I will do, and so little of that time actually doing said thing. It’s shameful to leave a track record of broken promises to myself. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had just kept my mouth shut and did nothing. Pure intentions often bounce when it comes time to cash them in, however.
The people in my life have come to acknowledge me as someone akin to the Boy Who Cried Wolf. It’s not really so bad as that, but there’s an overlap for sure. It’s necessary to have a consistency to the way one operates (I would assume) in order to foster a sense of reliability. Not only for others, but for yourself, most importantly.
I haven’t been able to rely on myself as much as I would like to. Trying to figure out why, and how to change that, is the quest. Fortunately there are enough accomplishments back there in the rear view to know what I’m capable of. Without a trail of at least moderate successes it can be tough to hack through the brush and forge a trail. That’s how it felt before college, but I think that’s a story for another time.
This inner monologue above is classic resistance tactics. If you’ve read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, then you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, then I highly recommend it. According to him, Resistance is the inner force that keeps us from doing what we know to be necessary.
Compounding all this doubt and fear is the fact that I’ll have to back up my words with action. Walk out the words and reform the old tendencies to let promises go unanswered and hope no one notices.
Fear of failure is something we are all too familiar with, but a strange new type of horror finally came into focus that night. I had heard of it before, but never believed it was a real thing:
Fear of Success
This, apparently, is a real thing and now I see why. If you succeed, then you have to maintain that success. A whole slew of responsibilities are heaped onto your already overloaded shoulders. People will expect things from you. They will excitedly await your next victory if they love you, and eagerly hope for you to fall flat the next time if they don’t.
Most, if not all of this is just more resistance and demon talk to throw you off your game. Regardless of the outcome, getting the big things done is the only consideration as far as I’m concerned. Trying to predict the outcome is a fool’s game. One step at a time is how those monumental tasks get done. Just grit your teeth and do what needs doing.
For me, it’s getting these articles written within something resembling a consistent rate. I’m new to it, and my fear brain tries to pull me in every other direction than the one I’m facing now, in front of this blinking cursor.
Writing articles and blogging was never an attractive prospect for me. I always loved developing stories with lively characters and slick, well choreographed action sequences. I’ve been dreaming up worlds ever since I was old enough to get grounded. It was a coping mechanism, I think, to allow me to travel to distant lands while I laid there in bed with no privileges.
It was many more years before I discovered my mother’s stash of Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels. I read them all. Some of them twice. This gave me a taste for reading that set me off onto a new path for my life.
Another story for another time.
The point I’m making here is I understand the value of writing these articles. I need an audience. It seems unlikely that I will be shopping my book around trying to get someone to publish it. That may have been the way it was done before, but nowadays, as far as I can tell, self publishing is the normal way to go.
Either way there needs to be an audience.
So here I am typing away, hoping to stumble into a groove that starts to get some traction.
We’ll get there.
The reality of the situation is that life will never leave us alone. There will always be setbacks, disappointments, inconveniences and even the occasional tragedy. Life does this to us all. We need to roll with it as best we can and stay focused on our path of choice. Once a path is chosen, it’s critical to stay on it until it’s seen through to the end.
Brian Relay is a digital artist with ten years of random work experience that loosely relates to his field of study. He lives in New Hampshire with his Batman figurines and his collection of partially worked-through traumas. Together with his un-imaginary friend, their first comic book has been successfully completed. Also, he recently picked up the novel that was collecting digi-dust for an embarrassing amount of time. He’ll let you know when it’s done.