We all know the feeling; that crushing, sometimes devastating sensation of worthlessness. It can leave a person with no motivation, no drive to achieve.
“Why try?” we ask ourselves. “What’s the point? I’ll only fail.” This thinking breeds on itself, a snowball effect that weighs us down. Heavier and heavier the load bears down on us.
Sometimes, those around us can unwittingly contribute to that sense of failure. This is not their fault, as they can’t read our minds and see our current malaise.
The Australian culture has long cherished the Tall Poppy Syndrome. If anyone starts striving to achieve more; to excel at anything, they are not encouraged.
Rather, they are “Cut down to size”. Oftentimes, this leads people to simply give up. Either that, or move to a country where they can pursue their dream without the constant dragging at their heels that is so endemic here. The loss of Australian talent to overseas is ongoing and nobody’s fault but our own.
Those who give up striving to achieve are left to carry on a “Normal” life as best they can, but the knowledge of what could have been can be a terrible burden.
The truth is, we are all capable of achieving many good things in our life.
Let me share a little irony with you.
When I completed high school, my parents were told I did not have a bright future. In those days, little to nothing was known about Asperger’s, or Low Spectrum Autism, as it is now known.
Therefore, I was simply a youth with attention and behavioral problems. A dreamer, unable to focus, lazy, and a master of the unfinished project.
My parents were told I had little to no artistic ability (I didn’t think the cover for The Road Out was that bad), no musical ability (not what most musicians I have worked with over the last 26 years have told me), no mechanical or craftsmanship ability (3 trades and a long list of engineering achievements says otherwise), and a poor understanding of English (the reviews on Amazon beg to differ).
Unfortunately, for the first ten years of my working life, I accepted their assessment. I was just a dumb kid with no special ability.
Low self-esteem has driven countless numbers of people down that same path. Bowed down by a system that insists we are naught but a number, people drift along and never realize their own potential. This causes discontent to boil under the surface, contributes to depression and puts yet more strain on marriages and families in general. Many drink, or take refuge in drug abuse, in an attempt to escape the feeling of inadequacy.
The sad part is, it needn’t be that way. The internet has brought with it an opening of previously closed industries. Nowhere is that more evident than in the creative arts.
Writing, art and music have all been given a new lease on life, with the sharing of our works being put into our hands. This having been wrested from those who have squeezed a king’s ransom from, and choked the airways of, the previous outlets.
The industries can no longer dictate to the public what they will enjoy, and this has opened the doors to a host of new artists to discover themselves and be discovered.
And this is the point; those who are feeling worthless, crushed by unjust guilt and fear, have an opportunity to start afresh.
Remember when you used to paint? Or draw, or play, or write? Analyze yourself; why have you stopped?
Don’t have time? So what are you doing that burns all that time? Watching TV? Playing games? Checking you status or liking someones cat photo? What makes you think you’re not capable of stretching yourself? Is someone telling you that? If they are, why are you listening to them?
Please don’t tell yourself you have no talent. Don’t accept that for one second you have no capability to do something extraordinary. We all do. The problem is, the vast majority have had the will to try beaten out of them. Friends, family, work colleagues, employers; they all have reasons to prevent us from reaching out for something better. That little tolerant smile when you try to share your enthusiasm for a new hobby. The condescending comments and derogatory one liners. They are a defense mechanism that says, “I don’t want you trying. If you try, and succeed, what excuse do I have?”
Imagine a giant jar, within which you are trapped. Around you are thousands of similar jars, each with someone in it. Everyone has concluded there is no escape, that this is our future, because we have no choice. The truth is, there are several options, but they all require acceptance of the possibility of escape. Jump out, push against one side to topple the jar, either way would succeed. But, the majority just sit there, refusing to accept it would work, or that they are capable of doing it.
We don’t achieve, because we convince ourselves that failure is inevitable. We have low self-esteem, as do so many others. The world around us tries its best, in many cases, to distract us from achievement. That is something people on TV do, not you. You just need to sit and watch our shows, and buy the stuff the ads and the product placement tell you to buy, and be happy with who you are.
Don’t buy it. Because it simply isn’t true. Why have posters on your wall of someone who plays a guitar? Get a guitar and do what they do.
I’ll let you in on a little secret here. That smile those musicians have on their face when they’re on stage, it’s not because they’re rich. It’s not because there’s adoring fans cheering. I wear that smile every time I get with the boys in a dusty practice room with nobody else there but us. It’s a smile produced by the thrill of making good music, the enjoyment of the just rewards of years of hard work and practice.
Anyone can know that feeling. You can know that feeling. But, you have to try, and keep trying. Listen, learn, apply. You don’t need any more than some basic equipment and the device you’re using to read this. The web is littered with advice and guidance, from people eager to see you try, too.
Have you failed? Have you given up? That is not all bad news. Why?
Because to fail at something, or to give up at something, means that you must have initially tried, is that not so?
And if you have tried before, then there is nothing stopping you doing it again.