Another 70 posts in the can! Compared to when I was first getting my footing with this website nearly 400 posts ago, things are coalescing now into a finely-tuned machine that seemingly spits out content daily. What if you told me then that I’d be spending an average of three hours daily writing, sometimes waking up at 3AM to write, all to chase my dreams? I’d say good! This dream is the only good fight there is:
Words mean nothing? If only it were that easy to ignore the comments of others! Especially when I haven’t been confident with my abilities or even my sense of self, even subtly critical statements would dig deep. Now it’s not so much that I don’t care, it’s just I really take a critical look at the sender. Do I know this person? Do I trust this person’s judgement in this area? If not, trash it!
In ten years, will I have this spider’s confidence? It stared right at me. To not be skittish around anyone I don’t fully know? To not feel embarrassed over the most minor, benign, and otherwise harmless social faux paus? The courage to talk to anyone? Compared to ten years ago, I do have more self-confidence, so I imagine in ten more years of practice, I’ll be closer. I have had glimpses of this spider’s confidence…
Ten years ago, I became interested in music. Similar to learning about sports, there’s some communicative ubiquity to knowing about music. Everyone usually has some favorite songs, genres, musicians, bands, or albums they want to share. You can gain so much, and not just recommendations, once you find common ground. As you learn more about your hobbies, you become more self-confident. You find your groove. Here are ten things I learned about confidence through music:
Let’s say you’re out of work and that depression is starting to kick in. You wake up with that urgency to get freedom, along with that hopelessness of not having an easy way out, both “achieved” through the paying gig. Now let’s say you’ve worked at a gig for some time and that depression starts kicking in differently. You wake up with complacency because you’re drifting away from your real goals. Why does this happen?
I have this quote hanging out with my writing tablet: “A day I have not written, is a day I have wasted.” I’ve wasted many days in the past. ‘I’ll get around to it tomorrow.’ ‘I don’t have enough time to write, row, or do what I want to do.’ ‘If I put time into doing anything, I’ll be tired tomorrow.’ All’s true. It’s all about understanding one’s limits and breaking them without breaking yourself.
The eleventh draft of a proprietary document I spent weeks writing, locked under a legally-binding non-disclosure agreement, was 3,573 words. The twelfth draft was 3,676 words. Less than 10 people will ever have a need to read, or even skim through, that document. Once this gig’s up, it may reside somewhere for historical purposes, or it may be destroyed. I still took the same pride in placing my name to this document as anything I’ve written here. Why?
The best part of the Gig Life, for me, has been drawing from the well of self-confidence as I surf between gigs. First days aren’t so stressful. I can trust that I’ll produce good work, make new friends, and see new sights. Sure, the anxiety is there; it’s just easier to jump into the unknown. I am also the storyteller of my narrative. Everyone I meet knows I write now. I’m not as shy anymore…
As things come, they will go. No use basing your self-worth around external factors like popularity and the opinions of others. What is popular today probably will not be as popular to as many people tomorrow. What wasn’t popular yesterday could become popular today. Opinions change. People change. The opinion of yourself is probably the only constant. Is there a way to retain your self-confidence even when it seems like no one else wants you?
After years of wallowing in self-pity, I realized something: I would only place my value in only one side of myself. I focused only on my career, playing videogames, or watching movies exclusively. That’s the fastest way to burn out! What happens when your career hits a rough patch? No good videogames? Watch some bad movies? My self-confidence, motivation, and overall demeanor would go in the dumps.