To blog, or not to blog. That is the question.
Really it’s just a question of which contemporary authors I’m going to listen to. Some say to only write when inspired, others say to just write and never stop writing. Since both camps have reached some level of success, I’ll have to conclude that there is no right answer to this question.
Honestly, that’s not even what keeps me from writing. To say it is would be fraudulent. The reason I don’t write is because I’m afraid to. I’m afraid of sucking. That’s really the it of it. I am getting better at overcoming the fear of the suck, though. A lot of people never get so far as to identify their fear of the suck as the thing holding them back, so in this regards I’m already at least a little bit ahead of the game.
I don’t necessarily want to rid myself of the fear of the suck, either. Not completely at least. I want to push it into dark corners, or bottle it up to keep on the mantle only taking it out when useful, but I think I do need to keep the fear around a bit. When I can muster the strength to beat the fear, there’s always great rewards on the other end. If I kill the fear altogether, will I inadvertently close the path to the rewards as well? Maybe that fear is just another level to be ultimately dispatched with. It’s a tricky minefield.
I’ve also come to learn that I have an internal pessimism that lives inside me. This pessimism keeps me thoroughly unhappy with pretty much everything I accomplish. It allows me to have momentary triumphs when I create something that pushes my previous envelopes into a new size, but the triumph is fleeting and the pessimism quickly sets in and starts telling me what a fucking jerk I am for thinking that I’m any good at anything at all.
This snotty little internal bully creates some pretty thick imposter syndrome sometimes. No matter how skilled I get at things, no matter how many people tell me I’ve done something impressive, I can’t help but think that they are all lying to me in some mass orchestrated prank. Any day now I’ll walk into a trap set in a board room and everyone who’s ever told me I did something right will be standing there pointing, laughing and telling me how it was all a setup just to berate me.
A few weeks ago I actually caught my subconscious trying to convince my conscious that I am actually a special needs adult whom no one has bothered to tell they are a special needs adult. For reference, I have an engineering degree and work as a business analyst for a pharmaceutical company. They obviously don’t give these things to just anybody, and yet, I still found myself with the momentary conspiracy theory that everyone in my life outside of my family constituted an elaborate system of life-coaches (hired by my family) whose entire purpose was to applaud everything I do, no matter how mundane it is, as if it were some sort of great accomplishment and to never let on about the ruse. Oh, and this game also comes with a middle-class salary and great benefits, for some reason.
This is an extreme example of how strong that pessimism monster can be, but I assure you there is no exaggeration in it. It’s non-sensical to even entertain the possibility of such a grand lie perpetrated to save me from knowing what a fraud I am, but imposter syndrome is never logical.
The fucked up part about it is, I can’t completely kill the imposter syndrome, either. I need that as much, if not more than, the fear of failure. It’s all very driving. I am driven by pessimism, fear and doubt. I am also, at times, held firmly into place by pessimism, fear and doubt. As previously stated, it’s a tricky minefield.
If I was ever truly satisfied with the way I am, I would have no drive to get any better. In fact, at this stage of my life I can say confidently that any level of skill or success I do have is directly a product of being the absolute last person in the room to ever accept that I am actually skilled or successful. It’s a vicious cycle.
So I think the solution is to just keep going forward. The fear and imposter monsters will keep getting stronger, and I will have to keep getting stronger to beat them. I’ll work to accept the antifragile dance of the two parts of me, and trust that there’s something significant on the other side. I may never achieve escape velocity into the realm of being perpetually pleased with myself, but that will be okay, and I will be okay. As seen on some random Facebook posting recently, “Confidence is not believing everyone will like you, confidence is knowing you’ll be okay if they don’t.”
Or, as a Twitter contact recently tossed at me, “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.”