Thursday, September 26, 2013

Worse Than Failure

“Rule of thumb:  The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

Steven Pressfield – The War of Art

No matter what, I’m going to sit here and finish this blog tonight.  I’m going to start it and finish it.  The quote above by Pressfield accurately describes my state of being.  I have put up a lot of resistance to doing my work today.  I’m not sure why.  I suppose the Enemy is just doing its job.  Now it’s time to do mine.  So I’m going to sit here and write.  Then I’m going to read and study.  These things are my calling.  Here are some other things in my agenda.  Within the next two years I’m going to do the following:
·     Buy my cottage on the beach.
·     Publish at least three books.
·     Have 500 blogs written.
·     Write 300 pages of study notes on whatever I’m reading at the time.
·     Have at least $50,000 in savings.

I have a lot to do and I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish these things.  Perhaps it is even foolish and shortsighted to declare them publicly.  What’s the worst that could happen?  I could fail.  Spectacularly.  But there’s something worse than failure.  It’s not attempting.  I’ve “not attempted” far more many times than I’ve failed.  In fact, I don’t even have a good list of failures.  Mostly, I’ve just not attempted.  Here’s the thing.  I rarely fail.  Honestly.   I rarely fail.  I’ve been successful in most things to which I’ve given my best efforts.  But I have not attempted, not done my best, so many times.  I can’t even call those failures, because the word “fail” implies some sort of attempt.   When I was in elementary school, I almost failed the 1st, 4th and 7th grades.  I got F’s all three of those years.  But the problem wasn’t that I didn’t understand the work; the problem was that I wasn’t doing the work.
I have visited this theme repeatedly.  That might be because it affected my life repeatedly. 
Really, and this is not an original thought, there is no failure if there is an honest, full-hearted attempt.  If I don’t get the desired results, I have two choices:
1.     Try harder or differently, but try again and again and again.
2.     Let it go.

By letting it go, I am not saying give up in abject defeat.  Rather, make the decision that there are other and more productive ways to spend time.  Deciding that I am pursuing the wrong course is retreat, but it is not surrender.  Retreat means I go back and decide on a more effective way to fight.  Surrender means I quit.  In my career, for example, I retreated from elementary education and came back fighting as an adult education teacher and then a career coach. 
Right now I want to surrender to sleep.  If I do, then this blog may not get finished. So I’m blasting music to keep me going.  I just don’t want to surrender.  I don’t want to give the Enemy any more foothold in my work. 
I don’t know why, but what I’m doing is important. 
Maybe no one is even reading it. 
Maybe what I’m writing is pointless or maybe it’s junk. 
Maybe it’s only important to me, though I don’t think so. 
I don’t care.  
I have to finish. 
I have to write. 
This is that important to my soul’s evolution. 
I don’t even know why. 
I just have to do this. 
Maybe this is what each of us goes through when we answer our calling.  Maybe everyone suddenly gets tired or distracted or starts feeling guilty over other things we “should” be doing.  Maybe the shelves suddenly need rearranging or the dog urgently needs to be washed, though those weren’t problems before I sat down to write or study.
Besides all that, I deal with fear every single time I sit down to write.  I worry that my message isn’t fresh or that I’m not saying anything new or different.  Fortunately, I have two answers to that:
1.     Someone needs to be reminded of purpose every day, even if that someone is only me.
2.     I don’t care.  I’m here to write, not make friends or even gain an audience.  If I get an audience, great.  If not, I don’t care.  I only care about the writing.  I only care about making the attempt.
My fatigue is starting to go away.  Not coincidentally, I’m almost done with this blog.  I remember to Get Started and to Keep Going.  I feel stronger and cleaner and clearer.  I made the attempt.  My battle is over...until tomorrow.