Taking the Plunge

I remember sitting in a workshop or a class and listening to the lecturer talk about comfort zones. As she talked about how we all like to stay within the boundaries of our comfort zones she drew a big circle on the chalkboard behind her and labeled it comfort. This is a spot, physical, emotional, intellectually, or socially in which we feel most comfortable with ourselves. This can be a small group of friends, a well-loved book, or a room dedicated only to you.

Then, she put a dot on the board, outside the circle. I don't recall the exact term she used for it, but I interpreted the dot to be drive or excellence. Greatness can only be achieved by reaching outside your comfort zone and moving towards points that push you forward and expand your comfort zone. I have been sitting in that comfort zone for too long.

My comfort zone is that of knowledge consumer. I love learning facts, reading, watching films and TV, and hanging out with a close circle of friends. Outside of that comfort zone is the fear of criticism and an inability for my projects to live up to the perfect version that resides in my head. This is a terrible place to leave yourself trapped. I've considered hundreds of potential projects that I believe to be within my reach, but have shelved them out of fear of people not liking them or being unable to achieve the vision I had in my head. 

I always thought I was alone in this mindset until I read  "The Art of Procrastination" by John Perry, which was based on an essay he wrote called Structured Procrastination. In one of the chapters of the book, Perry explains he, like more than a few procrastinators, put off work not just because of laziness, but because they are afraid of failing to meet the perfect ideal of the final project. Eventually the deadline looms over his head and he finds himself in a mad rush to just get something done. It's no longer about making the perfect project, it's about getting something done that's good enough. Not great, not done perfect, but perfectly done. Throughout my time in school I was the exact same way. I'd put off projects until I knew that I needed to start for fear of missing the deadline. I never read the critiques written by my professors for fear of being crushed by what they said. Instead of seeing it as encouragement to help me improve, I saw it as attacks against my abilities.

I think it's time to start using the wisdom given to me by one of my favorite TV shows growing up:

Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy! - Miss Frizzle, "The Magic School Bus"

It's impossible to work in the field of media if you're not ready to weather such potential outcomes, and it's time I stop worrying about the outcome and start giving back the knowledge I've consumed.

If you don't like what I have to say, then perhaps I'm not the content creator for you.