When you’re as prone to failure as I am, it’s easier to stop trying than to press on.
It might not look like you’ve given up – with practice one can appear remarkably confident, busy and purposeful while avoiding a meaningful existence – but in truth, the pressure to be creative, decisive and generally winning can be utterly immobilising when your lack of prior success is staring back at you from every direction. Soon, your lack of purpose creates even more failure, which adds its voice to the failure that went before, insisting that your good intentions and well-made plans will amount to nothing.
I don’t share this for sympathy or encouragement. I wouldn’t be writing it at all if remembering my successes were enough to shake the sense that my career trajectory plateaued shortly after high school; that I’m a disappointing husband and father; that I’ve failed to complete more projects than I can count [including some I’ve attempted on this blog].
Are my standards for “success” too high? Yes.
Does it all stem from my weird childhood? A lot of it does, yep.
Are there successes I can be happy about? Sure.
Do I follow enough blogs about productivity and being a winner? Hell yes.
Am I taking enough happy pills? My GP thinks so.
But still, in too many moments, week after week, month after month, I struggle just to start – even on the smallest of jobs and ideas – if my Ghosts of Failures Past lurk nearby.
I’ve put together a few words for the aforementioned ghosts. I’m planning to repeat them all year [language warning for my mum]:
Hello, Failure Ghost. I know why you’re here, but it’s 2016, so now would be a great time for you to kindly FUCK RIGHT OFF.
Here’s to a year of starting.
Thank goodness it’s only February.