One of my biggest frustrations with people is that they are unwilling to act. I’m being brutal and critical here, and a little bit hypocritical. Nonetheless, it is very frustrating for me to witness people not act on what they should be doing.
I know, I know, it sounds judgmental as all hell. What is should right? Who am I to tell you what you should do? I mean shouldn’t we all make that decision for ourselves? And yeah, we should. But that’s the irony.
I truly believe all of us know why we’re here. We have things inside we want to do or should do. For example, with me, it was my teeth. I should have fixed them a long time ago. I talk about that journey here if you want to read it. But this illustrates my hypocrisy and my own struggles with people’s inactions, including my own. There are things we all need to work on, and sometimes it just takes time to get there.
But sometimes it’s so obvious. My teeth are my example for me, but it goes deeper than that.
I was talking to someone this weekend and I figured out something. As a person, I don’t like having my time wasted. And a lot of times people freeze. They are not sure what they are going to do, they know that there is a risk of failure and stop dead.
I remember high school. I had this crush on this girl named Shannon. I denied it. I pretended it didn’t exist. One song played on the radio and I knew I was an idiot. I had this opportunity and I didn’t take it. I’ve made a million mistakes since then, but this one still bothers me after all these years. I had a chance and I blew it. And it hurts. A lot.
Because I listened to a voice that convinced me not to go for it. I listened to the concept of not trying to get her number, ask her out or go on a date. I never really gave myself the chance. We all have those stories I think. We all miss opportunities in front of us just because we are afraid to take those chances.
I vowed after her that I would never ever feel like that again. I never wanted to have that kind of regret in my life. So ever since, if there is a conflict between the voice of “I can do this” versus “I can’t do this” I always try to listen to the first one. It’s not perfect, but I don’t have too many moments in my past where there’s pain like that.
I still have things from my childhood I still want to do. I still want to learn to drive a motorcycle and pilot a plane. But by and large, I’ve been able to go for it with all the things I’ve felt like I SHOULD do.
How do I know it’s what I should do? I’m terrified. Yeah, I’m scared to death. Not in that terrifying way that freezes me up. But doubts, thoughts, nagging feelings, all are there. I feel them. We all do I think.
I just try to act on them. Because I can’t help but wonder what will happen if I don’t. Nothing I’ve done – success, failures, or rejections – feel as painful as not doing it. I rather try and fail than not try at all.
As I get older, I realize how rare that last paragraph is. It’s very easy to listen to the other voice. The one that says you shouldn’t do it, can’t do it. Lots of excuses form in the head. You are too sick, you don’t have time, you have kids (not completely an excuse, but careful using them as a shield), you’re not smart enough, you don’t know what you’re doing, I can list a thousand more excuses. People are very creative when it comes to listening to this particular voice not to do something.
One time while I was at this coffee shop, I met this dude that had this great plan to work and do the job. I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me that he wanted to surf in Mexico.
So why not just cut out the bullshit and just surf in mexico? I suggested it to this man and he blanched. He was afraid. Afraid to pursue that passion. He was afraid to look foolish, afraid to try it and fail, afraid. Just afraid.
What does one do with that kind of fear if they don’t face it?
My two hundredth podcast came out. I always loved interviews and doing them. You can go back far enough in this blog to read this. Last weekend I got an Aurora Award for them through my podcast Just Joshing. I did it by just following my passion, doing what I said I was going to do, and following through, embracing a piece of my destiny.
I never would have gotten this if I had been afraid to do it.
Who knows where I’ll go from here when I keep doing it.
From me to you, I hope you face your fears and go for it. Let go and give it a shot. You may be surprised where it will lead you. It’s what you should do.