When I was asked by one of the editors of the Manitoban to write an article about how to motivate yourself and how you are your worst critic I thought to myself, “I can’t write that, it would suck.” Then I put it off until the last minute.
I spent a lot of time avoiding this work, just like most work I have to do. I paced. I diddled on my guitar. I drew a picture of a beefy Mexican wrestler. My usual routine for avoiding work.
The reason I avoided it? Irrational fear.
Irrational fear, I think, contributes to all the undone homework, all the missed chances and all the uncalled numbers on bathroom walls throughout the world. No one is going to brush your hair, wipe your bum, do your job or your taxes. We’re on our own here on this island Earth. If you want to get anything out of life, the first thing you need to beat is your irrational fear.
Now what makes up this fear? Is it this gravity that keeps us down? I have no idea. I really don’t. Maybe it’s the fear that other people will see us fail. Ayn Rand — she’s the lady that wrote Atlas Shrugged — was all about that; her whole deal was reminding people to ignore their critics. Even yourself. We all try to keep each other down. Maybe that’s not it. I don’t know. I’m an illustrator not a psychologist.
Example one of how overcoming fear is good: my brother just asks women out until they go out with him. That’s like, crazy awesome.
Are you planning on doing well in university? Are you planning on getting scholarships? Good, because not many others are. Most aren’t. The world is made up of people giving 10 per cent at almost everything they do and they are unwilling to put in the required time to master any skill. People are like water.
They take the path of least resistance. Don’t be that person.
There is a soft number floating out there: 10,000 hours. That’s how much time it takes to go from being a nothing at something to being a world class expert. That essentially breaks down to four hours a day, five days a week, for ten years. That’s a part-time job, twenty hours a week.
Example two of how getting off your butt is good: I sent a cold e-mail to musician I liked on the radio with a link to my website, now I am designing his national tour poster. What!?
What do you want to be good at? Flipping burgers? Well, keep that cruddy part-time job for ten years.
But if you want to accomplish anything of worth, start now. Go. Right now, I am serious. The rest of this article is just fluff. It’s not even well written. I don’t really spend enough time writing.
I don’t believe in talent. I don’t think anyone is more capable of doing any job than you are. I don’t think, if you really buckle down and do the work, that you can’t write the greatest novel in history. The real question is: “Are you willing to do the work?” I’m not. I’d put it off like I did this article.
Example three of how overcoming fear is good: see that girl? Go ask her out. Good. She’s your new girlfriend.
The entire world is within your grasp. Want to start a gardening company? Do it. Want to be the world’s best post-modern poet? Start wearing that beret.
In the immortal words of the very mortal Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” Want to be a hardworking success, with money and a car and all your friends think you’re really put together? Be that person. Go. Now. You should’ve stop reading way back up there.