I Want To Try

“I want to try.”

It isn’t some grand, heroic statement of valor.

Or is it?

Trying is more than most people do in a lifetime. “I want to try” is a claim of intent that carries world-shaking power. For it is the most a human being can do.

The great men and women of history did one thing differently. They tried with vigor. After being shot down, they kept trying, only with more vigor. They tried so much that eventually, the world said, “ok, fine, I’m sick of fighting you.”

Remember how Sylvester Stallone kept trying?

And here I am. A lowly writer without fame, fortune, or a girlfriend. I’m fine without those, but as for writing, I want to try. I could try to write the greatest story ever told (or even a decent one), guide Deep Existence into a top blog, and see the wonders of the world with no cash in my wallet.

I have never really tried to push the limits in my 26 years. I assume there are limits to push me back into reality. What if they aren’t there? What if they push me back and I figure out a way around them? What’s really stopping me? If I were to walk up to a limit and touch it, what would I find?

Fear.

If You’re Not Trying, You’re Afraid

You know what scares me? The fact that fear can control our lives. People die with fears they’ve held since a young age. Fears that stopped them from being who they wanted to be.

To live your dreams means any other way terrifies and baffles you. Why would we do anything else but try for what we really want in life? No other strategy makes sense. Those who can’t do it are stuck. Knee deep in concrete. With their fear. They see the light, but cannot move towards it.

Let’s crush fear with a couple of reckless rhinoceroses. Shall we?

Rhino Clash

Carefully place your fears between these rhinoceroses just before they clash their horns together. Make sure to get your hand out of the way. The rhinos could potentially trample you afterwards. Hmm...leave a comment if you have a better idea than the rhino vice.

I want to live true to myself. I want to live in a way that is a direct extension of my soul to the world. Don’t you? I think you do. We all do! It’s why the answer to so many questions is “be yourself.” You were meant to be you and nothing else. But fear ruins that possibility because the things that we love are the most fragile to us. They scare us the most.

We’re smart though.

A quick cause-effect analysis tells us that inaction accomplishes nothing and does not protect what we love. The only way to preserve our hopes and dreams is to press on. I’m asking you (and me) to step out and try. Fail a little. Fail a lot. Cast aside your fears and give yourself a chance.

Since I’ve not been trying, I’ll make an example out of myself. These questions are related to writing, as I want to write more, but you can imagine what similar questions might be relevant to you and what your life is missing.

  1. Why is it that you’ve never made a concerted effort to write a full-length book? Or two? Or fifteen?
  2. How many times have publishers rejected you? Zero? That’s how many submissions you’ve made, isn’t it?
  3. Why haven’t you been actively getting others to critique your writing? This is available for free on the web.
  4. Why aren’t you trying?

Those questions defeat my excuses. They grab me by the collar – I’m shirtless right now, so make that collarbone – and slam my bare back against the wall, and they force me to respond, but all I can do is shake my head and say, “I know. I know. I’m not even trying.”

Worst of all, there isn’t financial risk in writing and yet I hesitate! I need to try to write a compelling story. It might be terrible. But it would be a charming failure, and I would learn from it. I could write 57 bad stories, 20 average ones, and then a masterpiece on the 78th. That’s lots of failure to fight through, but since I enjoy writing, it’s fun.

If what you really want out of life involves a massive amount of money, you should do some risk assessment and brainstorming for possible ways to get it done. Whatever you do, break it into small, actionable steps, to give the “huge project” a “this is possible” perspective. Writers can rest easy knowing that War and Peace was written one word at a time.

Your dreams are what make you come alive, so failure while racing around the “dream track” can be fun. If it is painful, it will play a vital role in your eventual success if you keep trying. Pain makes learning more effective. I haven’t touched the oven rack in more than two weeks!

Internal struggles can be significant. I can write for free, but I still have fear. I fear putting too much time into something that doesn’t work out. I fear that my passion will change overnight and that I should have be practicing for professional archery.

This concept is as old as dust, but have you taken in it’s wisdom? Have you accepting it as a core value – to try and if it fails, try again? Maybe it’s too simple for to you believe that you don’t already know it. Ask yourself – why aren’t you there yet? The answer is either a lot of failure or a lack of trying.

You know it. You can see it. The only real obstacle is you and your weakness is fear. Find a way to eliminate or bypass your fears and something odd will happen…

There will be no stopping you.

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Robert

Hey Stephen,

You got to the foundations of the problem nicely in this post. Fear holds us back from trying – and if we don’t try, we never get anywhere. How many people have really tried to push the limits? 99.99% of the population haven’t. Unfortunately, I’d include myself in there (for now!). Even worse, the vast majority of these people have huge hopes and dreams, but they never materialise because they never try. Laziness is another major problem that prevents progress, but again this could be seen as fear of going down an unknown and potentially more difficult path than what we are used to.

The old cliché of learning from failure is the most constructive way to make progress. Obviously people shouldn’t expect to fail but realise that it is an almost inevitable part of the journey. No one is one hundred percent consistent all the time, everyone makes mistakes – it’s how a person recovers from the mistakes that determines how successful they will be. In fact, the most successful people have usually made the most mistakes, but learnt from them and gone onto succeed.

PS How are you fixed this week for a Skype?

Stephen Guise

Hey Robert,

I bet that 99.99% figure is close to correct. Laziness is often a result of fear and pessimism. If people really believed they could have a more satisfying life with a little work, they would go for it.

Some take failure as a challenge as others are devastated by it!

I’m moving to Florida in a day or two, so I’ll be busy. If I have time, it will be towards the end of the week.

Cheers,
Stephen

David Harbour

Stephen,

You nailed it buddy, I’m 51 years old and fear has held me back more times than I can count. The fear that I might not be as knowledgeable as I think regarding my writing. The fear that I might embarrass myself. And the biggest of all, the fear that I might fail miserably and confirm my own lingering self-doubt! Worst of all, I do nothing so that I don’t have to find out one way or the other.

Stephen Guise

Hey David,

Isn’t it torture? I’ve had some of those same fears, but I’m coming to realize that nobody gets anywhere without being embarrassed at some point. I just watched a bunch of Jim Carrey interviews – the guy is hilarious, but think of how many times he’s been embarrassed as a comedian. I bet he’s immune to it now! 🙂

Sometimes I think the answer is to force action and ignore the fear. I’ve done this in the past and have had good results. For writers, sitting down in front of a blank page is the first step. I use Pages for Mac and it has a full-screen mode that allows me to focus wholly on writing. It has made a difference.

I’ve come to the realization that I would be happy to write a mediocre, full-length story. I would learn SO much by doing it. Of course I would try my best to make it fantastic and compelling, but if it doesn’t work out that way, I’ll finally have a reference of my work to improve upon. It’s hard to improve on nothing.

I am reading “Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by McKee” and it’s very helpful. For now, I’m writing some very short stories just for practice. It’s fun!

I bet you can overcome your fears and get going. You know that writing of any quality is better than not trying, so what do you have to lose?

David Harbour

Stephan,

How true, I have been told over and over by friends to just write from the heart, write like I speak. I often find that transferring what’s in my head onto paper difficult. Yet I understand this is a learning process and like all learning we have get it wrong before get it right. The point is, as the famous saying goes, Just Do It. And I encourage you to do what I plan to do, step out there, take the risk, feel the fear and it anyway. As you said, you can’t improve on nothing.

Stephen Guise

I plan to do the same, David. Nothing to lose. 🙂

CeeJay@theblogblender

Thanks for this motivating post Stephen.
As you said fear is not good for great. I fear most of the time , maybe about insignificant things. They sometimes rule me preventing me from doing what I should be doing. I’m eighteen now but i need to find a way to keep fear away.

Stephen Guise

If you can find a way to conquer your life-stopping fears at a young age, it will set you up well for a great life. I wish you success in conquering them!

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