"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure," says Bill Cosby. And I agree completely. The problem is, my fear of failure is much greater than my desire for success. Except when it comes to writing books.
I've tooted my horn quite a bit about why writing POST was such a big deal for me. It was, for the first time, something I wanted to start and finish, and not chicken out on or lose interest in. I was determined from the day I decided to write the book and -- save for a few fleeting moments while watching a certain section of Spider-Man 2 in the theater -- to never give up. Why that desire was so strong is that I'm usually easily turned off by things when I hear about potential, severe downsides.
Case in point, if I were to quit my job today with no other job lined up, I'd think about the struggles friends and family encountered with finding a new job. Couple that with all the things I went through when I was laid off a few years ago. Add in a statistic I recently heard about job-seekers (most job-seekers these days take at least seven months to find a new job -- and that's not an average). So, my fear of failure keeps me at bay.
Another example is all the bands I've thought about starting versus the ones I've actually been in. There were a couple of projects I wanted to do in college that never got off the ground. Trying to find people that wanted to play emo/post-hardcore yielded no results. Years later, trying to come up with material I was satisfied with after listening to a lot of Kinks and Elliott Smith yielded no movement from jamming on my guitar alone to laying down tracks at a friend's studio. I just gave up those projects, but I still play. I can't help but tap along and want to get behind a drum set. That appetite never goes away, thankfully.
I do not think of myself as a failure, but I often run into a kind of writer's block with a lot of things in life. There are a couple of things in my life I'd really like to improve and/or change, yet any sort of traction with getting on the road seems to get derailed. I think I would really be game for trying new things if I didn't get so distracted and deterred with potential downsides. So I choose to stick to what I know and am cautious to step outside of the proverbial comfort zone.
Without going into specifics, I did something outside of my comfort zone as a drummer a few months ago. The whole time I was out of the zone, I felt nervous and the situation felt awkward. When I got home and back into my regular routine (aka, the comfort zone), I thought about the experience and didn't want to experience something like that ever again. That's when I thought a step outside of the comfort zone can be (but definitely not always) a step in the wrong direction. There are times when a step out of the zone is exactly what I need; other times, not at all.
Yes, I do ask "What have I done with my life so far?" but I think almost everybody thinks that. I just question my boundaries and goals, and I find things hard when I see all sorts of warning signs on the road. Yet there are plenty of warning signs that do not deter me.