I read about a man with a short story so amazingly good that on the strength of it alone he was able to sign up an unwritten novel with an agent, a novel long since finished, published to acclaim and sold to the movies while I was on page four hundred or so of my Kristen. Then I spoke to someone yesterday that said that they purposely go around wrecking their lives so they can have material to write about.
I don’t know how it is for you, but for me, when I combine my expectations with my own ambition, talent and perfectionism, often times I struggle to accomplish my goals because I’m so focused on the outcome. What’s interesting is that if something fails or isn’t a success, do you then attach it to your happiness, self-worth and well being to achieve those goals? Or do you shift your mindset and focus on your effort in everything you do, rather than the outcome.
To often, people spend a lot of time working hard on something to have no expectations for their art; we all want recognition. But putting your work on the line and saying here I made this and it might not be for you but I took the time to create this, is an approach that lets me shift my gear from please pay me; judge me; accept me to, oh I had the ability to put something together and I want to share it with you. This is how I get out of my own way.
Sidenote, do you remember Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote; Eat, Pray, Love. Well, her publisher paid her a lot of money to write a new book. She writes the whole book and she’s at the coffee shop making a copy of her only copy to submit the finish book to the publisher, and she looks at it and throws it in the trash, and she says to herself in that moment, I can never top that book.
This is absolutely critical in understanding that we’re not trying to get back to our old-self, that old-self no longer exist. Your job is to simply create. If you’re seeking to make a change then you have to ask yourself three questions:
Who’s it for?
What it does?
What change am I seeking to make?
So, when the thing you’ve been dreaming of hasn’t actually happened then the practice should always involve showing up and putting yourself on the line. There’s no need to stress about things you can’t control. The only thing you can do successfully is to concentrate on being the best version of what you’ve got right now. Even if at the end of the year, you didn’t find the love of your life, or make the best-seller lists, and didn’t make as much money as you hoped you would, the greatest gift is realizing how free you become when you do something because you enjoy it and have no expectations.