The best advice I’ve ever received came from my friend K, who in his loud, witty way told me to buy a ticket. At the time it was in reference to some game we were playing but it stuck with me. Now I basically use it every time I consider a job opportunity or try to change my current reality.
The advantage of having a low threshold for humiliation is that you’re more careful. The disadvantage is that you’re more fearful. I used to be so afraid of failure that I missed out on some great opportunities. But if you don’t put in that application or volunteer that time or buy the fricken ticket the answer will always be “no.” The answer might still be “no” in the end but at least you were in the running.
This is all within reason of course. I’m pretty sure that one of the definers of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, looking for a different result. That or you’re a masochist. Of course don’t give up and try, try again. Just make sure that you change the parameters or the strategies.
There are so many ways that we get in our own way. We tell ourselves that we’re not good enough, that we suck at math, or that we’re not intelligent. It’s human nature to want to fuck it up for yourself because at least that way the rejection came from you and not from someone else.
When I was young I celebrated the Christmas holidays with my extended family. One year my mom and aunt got stress balls for the three of us. My cousin K got one that said “whatever” and a stick figure who didn’t care. T’s said something that doesn’t come to mind but probably had something with her “knowing what she’s doing.” Mine was pink, had a shaking person and said “me, nervous?” It’s not like they were saying anything that wasn’t common knowledge. I brooded over getting my ears pierced for two days till finally my aunt put a spray meant for freezing throats on my ears right before the procedure. I was a nervous wreck for a long time. I built things up so much in my mind and set the ground for overthinking it. Since then I’ve learnt to look objectively at the stakes, know that they’re not life or death, and to do my best. I’m also older so I can do something fun afterwards like go shopping or have some champagne. Yay! I screwed up! And just like that the sun rises and you move on.
For me, standardized tests used to be the enemy. Now I just know that the best thing to do is study. Duh. But don’t psych yourself out when the time comes to put that learning into practice. You deserve better. You are better.
Update: T’s stress ball said “I’m not listening.” Ha. Fits her to a T.