Just Do It.
The reason why the famous Nike slogan is so popular, to my mind, is because it responds to our inner feelings of being totally capable and refuses to recognize our apathy or fear. Everyone is so risk averse that making decisions–no matter how big or small–becomes almost impossible and we generally choose the easy way out to avoid any conflict with our current routine lives. Either that, or we hope that someone else who is more knowledgeable with “these kinds of things” is able to confidently make a decision for us. That is why we are drawn to bold statements like “just do it”. It gives us no other choice, really.
And so, I recently had a very minor “just do it” moment. Thinking about whether or not I could write–as in, write fiction–I realized that my lack of writing had nothing to do with my inability to write and all to do with my lack of confidence in my ability to write, which inevitably turns into lack of action and apathy. (This may also be a tiny reason for why I haven’t written a blog post in a while.) Writing also conflicts with my daily routine, as would looking for jobs, curling, taking piano lessons, taking Spanish classes, going back to school or taking courses towards something I want to do/accomplish/live for (some of which I already do, most of which I wish I were already doing). So when it came to writing, I decided to just do it. Why not? Worst case scenario, I fail or I give up because it’s not one of my passions after all. I have to stop living my life thinking about the “what ifs”. People on a whole need to stop lamenting about their lost contingent futures, and start focusing on how they can actually attain them. It’s usually never too late to do most things. Of course, it’s probably too late for most things to do it in the way you had planned, but that is no reason to give up now. We are all capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for and our subconscious minds know this much better than we do.
For me, a great hurdle to get over when undertaking a new project, job or activity that requires new skills and unexplored aptitudes is my obsession with perfection (wholly unattainable, of course). I always feel that if I am not excellent (read: the best, perfect) at doing something, then I am a failure. As you can imagine, by that philosophy, I have failed at everything I have ever tried to accomplish. It’s not too good on the psyche. But the first step is recognition of the problem which precedes any following steps of dealing with it. I feel I am dealing with it in small increments. For example, I have taken up curling, a sport among many at which I currently am quite below par. This is very difficult for me to deal with and the devil in my mind encourages me daily to quit, but I won’t, because that would be an even greater failure and I would be doing nothing to combat my fear of imperfection. Similarly, I have started to write. Literally, just started. I write snippets of thought since I think my mind works best this way. I’m not sure if they are any good for the public eye (or even for any other eye but my own), but at this point it doesn’t matter. I’m not writing a book; I’m just whetting the stone, giving myself a taste of what it feels like to write for writing’s sake.
I know it is not a big step. It’s not like I quit my job and went on a quest to find what it is I am truly passionate about in order to pursue that in my daily life and not be stuck in a job that I really don’t care about. But it’s a step nonetheless, and no one can take that away from me. And you can do little steps, too. Just because it may not be a huge deal and just because there is perhaps a likelihood that you may fail or not enjoy your new activity or life exploration, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Don’t wait until you’re no longer healthy. Don’t wait until you’re retired or until the kids grow up or until you get married, move, divorce, have a nervous breakdown or contemplate your wasted life on your deathbed. Just do it. Honestly, you’ll feel a lot better. If not for you, do it for your future self.