the circular runner

9 months and out–LESSON #1

In career, humor, life, observations, Uncategorized, writers & books, writing on August 29, 2012 at 5:30 am

 

If you want to succeed at something, stick to it.  OK, obvious, I know.  But let me start with a story that will show you how I have not followed this very obvious truth.  I call this little ditty, Curse of the Dumb-Dumb Who Keeps Wondering What Other People Think of Him.  Here it goes.  I hope you like it–really, I do.

(See what I mean?)

When I was 15, I discovered tennis.  This was before the Williams sisters, mind you.  On paper, I had no real business with the sport.  Tennis is not quite golf and it’s a good bit under polo in the rich-person pantheon of athletics.  And yet, it certainly has a little bit of the country club vibe to it even to this day.  My father at the time, classic immigrant that he is, was happy about my discovery, telling me that tennis was a good sport for making connections with rich people.  (My father’s strange views of American society are another story.)  Anyway, I loved tennis.  I spent a summer going from one public court to the next all over Santa Monica, looking for people to play.  I was what I am not usually: without fear or apprehension.  I just wanted to play.

I say all of this, but this month was the first time I picked up a racket in 25 years.  I stopped when I was a sophomore because even though I loved tennis, the sport was not going to get me cred with the girls–at least I didn’t think I would.  So, what did I do?  I switched to basketball, which was a joke.  I’m 6′ 3″, and I liked playing pick-up games.  But my heart wasn’t into it.  And I didn’t have a head for the game in a more organized setting of league play.  So, basically I sucked it.  And after getting through Hell Week, I quit the team.  By that time, I’d gotten rusty at my tennis game, and then I hurt my shoulder trying to serve and it was over.

Now, do you get the point?  I left what I loved out of some concern of what others would think.  And I’ve been repeating the same mistake for years. You’d think I’d learn by now, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to see that you’re repeating the same mistake.  Every situation seems new.  Even now, I feel the pressure to give up on writing. I’m not going to, mind you.  This is it for me, I know that.  But sometimes, I have an idea, and I work through it, and as I sit with the project, I start to have doubts.  I start thinking no one will like what I’m doing or that I will fail (which also comes from a concern for others) and I want to run away.

I tend to think that most ideas, if you stick with them, can bear fruit.  Part of success is telling that inner-critic that tells you to quit because you might fail or because no one will like it or because you will end up penniless and friendless (and probably toothless as well) to shut the f&*& up.  There is success to be had if you just stick to what you’re doing and not listen to others.  I think that’s clear enough.  Right?  You agree, right?  Come on.  Agree already.

Damn it!  I’m doing it again.

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  1. This is quite entertaining because I have many of the same ideas running through my head. Like you, I played tennis early on and waiting patiently around backboards to see if I could pick up a game. I loved the sport and yes, the attention. I didn’t belong to a country club or receive fancy lessons with pros…I was scrappy, feisty, and won more times than I lost. Then the realization hit me that I was one of those women who run around in tennis whites feeling all-important because I could swing a racket. I became so competitive that I didn’t recognize myself. I was downright obnoxious. Shortly thereafter I lost a match and blew up at my opponent. That was the final straw. I quit the game that I loved because I didn’t think I was “nice” enough or that the evil side of my personality was getting center stage and I wasn’t sure that’s how I wanted to be perceived. Thanks for this great reminder to stick with things and if you enjoy them…stick with it and the rewards might be great. BUT, grow up and learn how to manage competition. It’s a valid emotion too.

    • i agree. and as a fellow scrapper, i hope you will pick up that racket once more. it’s a blast. though last week, i did screw up my back in front of a 22 year old tennis genius. i think i scared him. he thought he’d damaged me. i’ll teach him.

  2. I agree. I completely agree and I hope that’s ok with you. I read something recently that I am certain I will mangle but it goes something like this: If you love the path you are on, you only need to keep walking on. For me, the trick is in the “keep walking on” part. Don’t quit writing.

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