Sometimes I forget my own advice.
Because I’ve caused myself a lot of grief and heartache over the last… well, a while. Over different things.
And really, it’s all this kind of heartache:
It’s easy to focus on not being able to clap your hands.
And don’t get me wrong. That lack of something you want can be really hurtful. It doesn’t matter what it is that you’re wanting – a particular job, a particular relationship, a particular convention invite, a particular award, a particular person’s respect – they all share one thing in common.
They’re all based on wanting something particular. And something that you can’t directly control.
It’s hard to remember that things you can’t control … are things you can’t control. It’s even harder to remember that the harder you try to get the things you can’t control, the more off-the-reservation you get. Even to the point where you act in ways where you don’t recognize yourself any more.
Again, this is regardless of what “kind” of particular you’re chasing.
For example, this is what makes both the Sad and Rabid Puppies (see GRRM’s roundup or Jason Sandford’s thoughts if you don’t know)… well, sad. Pathetic, really. Because they’ve all but said (and may have actually; I don’t care enough to hunt for a quote) that they’re upset because they aren’t getting this particular award. And so they’re throwing a tantrum and feeling sorry for themselves… and possibly destroying what they claim to want.1
Everybody does this kind of behavior. About all sorts of things. You want a thing, a goal so freaking bad that it seems reasonable, even logical, to try to do anything possible to get it.
Except it never, ever, works out that way. Even if you “achieve” your goal, you’ll have done it with so much drama that you’ll have poisoned the well.
This is hard to remember. There’s a reason I keep writing posts like this almost every year – it’s to help myself remember.
And if I need remembering, I bet someone else out there could use it too.
So here’s permission:
IGNORE THAT THING YOU THINK YOU WANT.
Stop struggling to make something be what it doesn’t want to be. That convention doesn’t want you as a panelist or publisher is ignoring you? Screw ’em. That person doesn’t want to date you? Find someone who is actually excited about the possibility of dating you. Somebody doesn’t like or respect you? Find those who do. You’re not winning a particular award? Start your own.
Realizing that is the difference between this:
1 The Sad and Rabid Puppies are synonymous in fact, if not in name. Again, Jason Sanford has excellent analysis on his blog with this post.