I hope you're doing well.
It's been a crazy few weeks and output on the blog has dropped off considerably but I make a point of finding time for these letters.
I think they're important.
If there's one thing I'm guilty of, well, there are actually lots of things but one thing in particular is not finishing what I start. That is also tied in closely to not starting at all, procrastinating or just never getting going.
Procrastinating is annoying but it frustrates my wife more than myself. Procrastination is like a self-defence mechanism, a way of avoiding things. If I have to do something with potentially bad or awkward consequences I delay having to face up to them. If there is the possibility of failure then procrastination delays that outcome. The fear is always worse than reality but procrastination, in my mind, puts off the inevitable, maybe even negates it if I procrastinate long enough.
Never finishing what I start, however, infuriates me, makes me feel like a failure. My brain would prefer for me to never begin something than try and not succeed. There is a reluctance to put myself out there, an excessive aversion to risk. We're all risk averse to a degree but, for me, it's almost pathological.
Pathological. Now there's a word laden with meaning.
In the above context we would normally read it as compulsive, obsessive but I can't help be drawn to a different definition:
involving or caused by a physical or mental disease
Anxiety, depression, aspects of autism; how much do these contribute to shape who I am and how I behave? How much do I allow them to shape me, lean on them as a psychological crutch, self-defining, taking the easy option and blaming something else?
But what of never finishing?
Is it, as I always maintain, an inability to have big ideas only small ones? Or is it something more? Is it a manifestation of my anxieties, an avoidance of what might be if it is allowed to become it? Is it a reluctance to take a risk, to stand up and be counted, to put something out there and say "this is me, I made this?"
I suspect that this is part of what these letters are about, a way of putting myself in front of others, a bit at a time; small ideas hopefully building on each other and gradually leading to something.
Which leads me on to...
Reading Hell Yeah or No I find that each of the individual chapters/lessons/essays or whatever you want to call them are great in their own right, a little bit of targeted advice, a little bit of common sense that makes you go "of course!"
But that's only part of the story.
The beauty is in the curation of these individual atomic units of wisdom, each building on the last within their specific scope. It's in finding the connections between seemingly disparate pieces and being able to thread them into a meaningful narrative as though they belonged together from the outset.
One section around two-thirds of the way through starts:
You experience someone else's innovative work. It's beautiful, brilliant, breath-taking. You're stunned. Their ideas are unexpected and surprising, but perfect... Afterwards, you think, "My ideas are so obvious. I'll never be as inventive as that."
This rang so true with me but Sivers goes on to remind us that "everybody's ideas seem obvious to them" and what we feel is obvious in our own thoughts could appear genius to others.
We shouldn't discount our own talents, abilities and creations so easily just because we don't see it as others might.
And that's it...
The joy of having your own space to write, be that a journal, a blog, a newsletter, is that it's okay to be self-indulgent. It's yours after all and you can do what you want with it.
Not to be too blunt about it but if others dont like it then there's nothing keeping them. And we shouldn't let it bother us when they leave.
I suppose it's a pared down version of Kevin Kelly's 1000 true fans. You don't have to appeal to everyone, just focus on those that, for whatever reason, like what you do or say or create. It's on this foundation that meaningful relationships can be built.
Take care and keep staying safe,