When Everything Seems Out of Reach, This is How I Persevere
In the past, when everything seems out of reach and nothing at all seems to be working, I’d take everything personally and beat myself up, and lose sleep trying hard to make it all about me. Everyone has times in their life when they feel demotivated, lost, and unhappy. But as Ive grown to understand these two major tips, I have begun to perform better.
Tip #1: Life is supposed to be fun.
Do things that are fun. Practice having fun by doing as many activities that you enjoy as possible. It is impossible to feel fearful and lost while having fun. The trick to life is having a sense of enjoyment during the serious activities that you do, school, work, etc.
Competition is not fun. When you feel competitive, you are comparing yourself to others. Any competition has a process and a result. For example, the process might be taking a class and the result the grade you receive. If your focus is on results, you are guaranteed to be unhappy at least some of the time. You won’t get top marks in every class. What is worse, that unhappiness can seep into the time before the class. Anticipating the yucky feeling of a bad result can make you just as unhappy as actually receiving the bad result.
But if you focus on the process instead you can be happy every time. If you take a class because you are fascinated by the material, then the grade is not relevant. Just being able to learn about and interact with that subject is a reward on its own.
Life is all about trying, getting rejected, and trying again. Most of the time the answer will be “no” of course. The successful people are the ones who keep trying to auditions until they’re a perfect fit to those who consume what they’re selling. Success is just a bonus. You can get it if you remember to:
Focus on the process not the result.
Focus on what you can control–your performance–not on what you can’t control–how the performance is perceived by someone else.
Any good performance is a success. If you consistently deliver good performances, good results will eventually follow.
There are no failures, only learning experiences. Every process is a learning experience, especially the ones where you didn’t get the result you wanted. If you don’t get results, the process can still be a success if you learn something that will help you in the next phase.
Tip #2: You are not your performance.
Your performance was something you created, but it is not you. Read: When My Breakthrough happened, my Qualifications or Lack of it Did’t Matter
If someone criticizes your performance, it is not a criticism of your person. It is a statement of one person’s perception of your performance. Sometimes that perception will be penetrating and brilliant, other times it will be the warped product of the critic’s fears and biases and have nothing to do with you.
When everything seems out of reach, you begin to question your abilities and your performance. But rememeber, As you put something out into the world, it will be perceived in different ways by different people. Some will like it, others won’t. I am always surprised by what people do and don’t like in my writing. Over time, I have gotten a better sense of what people will probably like, but still I am wrong all the time. I need critics especially the ones who tell me what they don’t like about my writing. The more criticism I hear, the better I am able to anticipate how to make my writing appeal to more people. However, If I took that criticism as a criticism of me, I would be devastated when people said nasty things.
When I can separate my writing from me as a person I can benefit from criticism. To benefit, I have to really take it in and understand what the criticism means and I can only do that when I keep the distinction between my performance and me very clear in my mind.
When I talk to critics I talk about my writing in the third person, “the piece says XYZ on page 112. What did u think of that?”
I recommend the same approach towards performances. Things don’t seem so far out of reach anymore when I realise that the process is part of my success and the rejection of my craft is not a rejection of me. For this reasons, I do better and get closer to my goals.
Remember – middles are hard for everyone, so keep going. You can do this!