When I visit schools to share my children’s books, the students always ask, “How do you know anyone will like them?”
I say, “I don’t. But if I don’t write and publish them, I’ll never know.”
When I write fiction for adults, the adults who read it always ask, “How do you know anyone will like it?”
I say, “I don’t. But if I don’t write and publish it, I’ll never know.”
When I tell people I’m taking a podcasting workshop because I want to do a podcast of my own, the people I tell always ask, “How do you know anyone will like it?”
I say, “I don’t. But if I don’t do it, record it, and share it, I’ll never know.”
I always try to think of another response. But I can never come up with one better.
I don’t think we’re quitters. I think we don’t try.
We human folk have just two fundamental motivators: hope and fear. We hope to do things. But we fear failure. We say we want to do things, but we don’t realize saying, “I want to do something,” is quite different from saying, “I will do something.”
And as indications of how weird we are, consider: First, most people fear change. The devil you know beats the devil you don’t know in every race. And one of the most perverse aspects of human psychology is preferring the known to the unknown, even if the known is miserable.
Second, most people fear being exposed. They think they’re getting away with something or just getting by. Change the status quo, and the new light might show a chink in the armor or a lack in performance. Result? We’ll stay right here and keep doing what we’ve always been doing the way we’ve always been doing it.
Third, most people fear being bettered. If what we do is the only thing we do and the only way we do it, we resist the idea that we might be able to do it better — or do something else. We put up the shields, retract into the shell, and hope no one does anything better than — or different from — what we do.
First we make our habits, then our habits make us. (Charles C. Noble)
Until we break our habits — or do something different — how do we know what will happen? Why do we think we can or should know? Why are we so sure it won’t be positive? Why don’t we imagine it’ll exceed our craziest expectations, rather than assuming it’ll crash and burn?
It’s not about certainty, it’s about hope and giving it a shot, whatever it is.
A seat in the proverbial comfort zone is never worth the opportunity cost.