I want to _____ , but I don’t.
I want to write more on this blog, but I don’t. I’ve branded 3 publications, but written no articles.
I want to make YouTube videos, but I don’t. I like the style of the Nerdwriter and KaptainKristian, and I’ve even scripted a few, but have yet to make any.
I want to carry my camera with me at all times, but I don’t. I have a dream of becoming a digital nomad for a while after college, but I haven’t started freelancing.
I have all these ideas, yet I never see them through. You want to know why?
Because I’m scared.
It’s not because I’m simply incapable of execution or the linear thought required to plan out a goal. It’s because I fear being perceived as imperfect and unprepared. Being vulnerable scares the hell out of me.
Guilty. As. Charged.
If I had it my way, this post would be a video, but here I am.
Like many creatives, I tend to be my own worst critic. Whenever an idea pops into my head, I halt all productive motion and immediately spend hours dissecting potential flaws. Countless times I’ve sat on the edge of the “Go For It” diving board and never made the leap, waiting for someone or something to ease my fears and move forward.
Those blog posts I mentioned earlier… what if I write something offensive, even if I don’t mean it, and I get fired from my job?
Those YouTube videos… what if I get made fun of by friends and family because of the stigma around it?
Taking my camera everywhere… what if I spend too much time getting the right shot that I forget live in the moment?
What if… what if… what if…
This cycle of creativity and suppression is an everyday occurrence in my life. Some nights, I stay up for hours thinking and thinking about how I would prevent those catastrophes or justify my supposed actions. I plan what I would tell my employer about a post that doesn’t align with company goals. I prep the justification for my “silly YouTube channel” when my friends find it. I create ways of only taking a few photos when on an outing. For all practical purposes, I choose safety over self actualization and achieving my goals. While I don’t ever have to face my fears, I end up living with the self-disappointment in not trying.
Initially, it’s a safe haven, but I can only suppress my inner creativity for so long. The bliss of shear perfection in vision and execution is soon replaced with the dread of actually accomplishing it. Eventually I get restless. I don’t sleep, I feel down, and I become irritable. For a time, I thought I had an anxiety problem because of the symptoms. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
In reality, it’s simply unreasonable. Its unreasonable to expect any human being to be perfect, or even come close. Anything I say or do is ultimately up to the judgement of those who listen, watch, and react to my content. I can’t control how people view me or my ideas, but I can control my self-image and the attitudes toward my creativity. I live for sharing thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. Ultimately, the best messages require being shared with others in order to generate discourse. Through that discussion, agreement, compromise, and progress can occur. I might as well accept that now, instead of wasting more time worrying about the worst case scenario.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the disappointment of not trying is worse than the fear of being misunderstood. I don’t know for sure, of course, but it can’t be. I have to believe that. If it is, I’ll have to tell myself the satisfaction was worth it regardless. I’ll never forgive myself if I end up on my death bed not having tried. That motto is something I hope to live up to.
So, how do I stop this in the future?
1. Stop writing and…
(You get the idea?)
Hopefully you see a video up from me in a couple weeks.