Believe it or not my roommate Mike has never seen any of the Back to the Future movies. I live with a crazy person. So I am forcing him to watch the trilogy. We watched the first one the other night. He loved it, of course, because they are awesome movies.
There’s a reoccurring line that both Marty and his dad say at different points in the movie: “What if they didn’t like me? What if they said I was no good? I just don’t think I could take that kind of rejection.”
We all have those fears. No one likes to be told that they suck at something. It hurts. It’s embarrassing. It’s discouraging. Especially when you’re being told that you suck at something you really want to be good at. It’s different if it’s something you don’t actually care about; then you’re ok with sucking at it.
But when you put your heart into something, it can be pretty discouraging to be rejected. Maybe you know what it’s like to be turned down by someone you’re romantically interested in. That hurts. I wish I had an example of that scenario from my own life, but I don’t. (DON’T YOU MAKE ME DIG UP THOSE MEMORIES!)
The fear of rejection’s sting can paralyze us. So many talented people sit on their gifts because of a bad experience, or just simply the fear of a bad experience. We’re not good at not being the best at stuff.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what holds me back from my dreams. I make up excuses of why not to start something, when really the reasons are pathetic. I wish I could hold those reasons up to my 90-year-old self and see what he would say. He’d probably say, “You stupid kid. You’re wasting your opportunities because you’re too much of a wuss to try anything new. And why did you think those sideburns were good idea?” Dang, my 90-year-old self is kind of a jerk. But he’s also kind of right.
Dave Grohl, the front man of the Foo Fighters and former drummer of Nirvana, had a statement that has gained a lot of attention in the past year. And rightfully so. (I removed the swear words so that one day I can sell this post in Christian bookstores.)
“Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy an old drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana.”
The point of doing what you love to do isn’t so you can be the biggest act in the world. The point is that you should do it because you were made to do it, and you enjoy it. Or you’ve always wanted to try it. I’m finding that it’s ok to suck. In fact, some of the most fun I’ve had was doing stand up comedy and really sucking at it. Having people walk out during my sets was weird, but I’m glad I did it.
What is your lame excuse? You’re a perfectionist? That’s an eloquent way of saying that you are afraid. You’re not a perfectionist. A calculator is a perfectionist. You’re a person. And you’re imperfect. How do you expect an imperfect person to produce perfection?
Let’s try some stuff and not be afraid to let it be a train wreck. I’ve decided I’m going to write a book. I don’t care if people think it’s terrible and only my mother reads it. I’ve been putting it off and saying dumb lines like, “I will once my blog gets more readers.” Well, at this rate I won’t be writing a book until I’m 172, so I had better start now. And furthermore, when would I even feel like I had enough readers? Because when you’re making excuses, enough is never enough.
What about you?