A List of Reasons Not To Do Something: Welcome to 2016

I thought a lot about whether or not to post this. But 2015 was a year of change for me, and as I’ve said before, finding time to write about my experiences helps me bridge that gap to conclusion. Last year I started a new job. I moved across the country to Los Angeles. I moved in with a person that I love. And now that I’m on the other side of 2015, I can look back and see that I was slow on my feet for those last few months of the year. 

Change is hard. Looking at some of my biggest changes, I see two tools that help bring familiarity in periods of change. The first is patience (I’m the first to say that I don’t have enough of this). The second is putting in active effort. So I am posting this now as an effort to declare (mostly to myself) that I am actively working to make a new home. 

I am going to start with one new change right here. 

In 2016, I am going to start regularly posting my blog on social media, contrary to what I’ve been doing the previous five years. That sounds dumber that it is. In fact, it’s still pretty dumb, unimportant, irrelevant for 99.9999999% of the world. But the decision is symbolic for me. 

When I started this blog five years ago, my goal was to use writing and the blog as a way to continue my efforts to synthesize content and information instead of merely consuming it. I felt deluged by posts on Facebook and the millions of articles sent to me through email. And I wanted to continue deriving my own conclusions and opinions, similar to how a college student defends hypotheses in a course essay. 

I still plan on using this space in the same manner. But I’m going to be more public about it. 

But like many I have a list of reasons why I don’t think I should be writing publicly. I very much think writing (even blogging) is a creative endeavor. And anytime someone undergoes a creative endeavor what they are doing is undergoing risk. There are always reasons not to do something. Have you ever found yourself holding back on a project or getting cold feet about a decision? I do. There is power in simply naming those fears, putting them down on paper, exposing them so that they can be taken down. 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic espouses a very similar practice. In Gilbert’s book she reads her own list of fears. The list is built of reasons why one might reject big magic and inspiration even when it chooses to present itself. I was inspired enough to create my own list. And now I am going to share my list of reasons why not to do something, even if that something is as simple as posting regularly on a blog. 

  1. I’m afraid of what others will think of me and what I have to say.
  2. I’m afraid of other people thinking I have no credibility. 
  3. I’m afraid I don’t have enough credibility. 
  4. I’m afraid I have no talent. Or better put, I’m afraid that the gap between my taste and my talent is too wide. I can recognize good work or good art. But that doesn’t mean I can create something equally good myself. 
  5. I’m afraid I won’t be able to continue my day job and create or write on the side. 
  6. I’m afraid of leaving the very safe confines of my day job. 
  7. I’m afraid that I’ve neglected my blog for far too long that everything I put out will feel rusty and less than my best. 

Numbers 1 through 3 comprise probably 80% of the total weight of my fears. They will probably always be there. But this year, I will consciously act in the face of them. It will be a change for me. And change is hard.

But I’ve already thought about that.