I usually have “reasons” for not doing something. Those reasons range from fear to timing to being short on cash. But most often, the reason I don’t do something is because I don’t know how it will turn out.
I don’t like not knowing.
I want to draw more comics, but I don’t know if people will find them funny. I want to go back to school, but I don’t know if I’ll choose the right school or program. I want to go on a vacation, but I don’t know what the hotel will be like. I want to write a blog, start a YouTube channel, write a book, record a song… but I don’t know how people will react to it.
Not knowing scares me.
Usually, when I want to do something I use what Deadpool would call “maximum effort.” That is to say, I put in enough effort to produce a result, but not nearly enough effort to continuously produce better and better results as I continue to put in more effort on future projects. In other words I start something, get it going, build a website, design graphics, create some form of media, post it, and then freak out.
What if no one likes it?
Uh oh, no one is looking at it…
Maybe people don’t get it.
Or maybe it’s just not good.
Maybe I won’t be good at the thing.
Or maybe it’s just stupid.
I’m not going to be able to produce what people want.
I’m just going to quit.
And then, I quit. I don’t like not knowing. And that includes knowing where things are headed. And this affects not only my own creative life, but my media consumption as well.
If you tell me you found this cool book where the characters fight the dark powers and it’s really inspirational and relatable and just a good read… the first thing I’m going to ask is, “what happens next?” I’m not asking for spoilers, but I am asking you to tell me the ending of the story. And yes, they are different. Why ask this?
Well, contrary to what you might think, it does not ruin the story for me. If the story is good, knowing the ending won’t change the emotional weight of the journey. I’ve watched all of the MCU movies multiple times, and every time I’ve enjoyed the story even though I knew the ending. If I knew my own YouTube channel would have a very successful future I would still be able to enjoy the journey. And if I knew my YouTube channel would be an utter failure… well, that would be a reason to put my efforts into something else. Also known as quitting.
But what about doing what you love regardless of how it will turn out? Realistically you never know how things are going to play out over the course of a job, life in general, or even some Tuesday. So you should just do what you love and if it works out then great! And if it doesn’t work out? Well, you had fun doing what you love and now it’s time to move on to something else, right? It’s not truly a failure unless you didn’t learn anything.
But I guess I’ll never know.
P.S. – I WILL know, by golly!