The difference between laziness and fear
I just emptied a few dishes out of the dishwasher, so I could fit the dirties in. How lazy is that?
Jim is out-of-town again in East Jesus Nevada, gold mine #522, and I’ve logged another Jason Statham movie. I’m not sure how many BBC/PBS series’ on Netflix I’ve watched to completion. Call the Midwife, Jack Taylor “The Guards,” and Copper are my favorite so far.
Now that’s lazy.
I managed to bring in the garbage can and recycle bins and feed Lucy and Ethel. Oh, and I’m writing, so I guess I’m not THAT lazy.
Okay, so there is lazy and there is fear. Fear, I have been told, by fellow writers, can disguise itself as laziness. “I’m too lazy to write every day,” actually means, “I’m afraid that what I’m writing is shit.” “People won’t like what I write.” “I’ll run out of inspiration.”
Sometimes I wonder if being at Raving since January of 2001 is lazy or fearful. I mean, is being at a company for over 12 years a sign of dedication, being with a groovy company; or of me being too comfortable with my lifestyle, knowing Jim’s construction job has proven unreliable? Is it fear of breaking out of my comfort zone and challenging myself?
I like to think that I get paid a good salary to write and it supports our “play hard” life outside of work. And that’s pretty damn cool.
I can justify almost anything but fear.
Fear. I hate to make decisions based on fear.
So get this, last year I was considering finishing my degree ONLY because I was scared the economy was going to tank even more, and I wouldn’t have a degree to help me find a job with corporate America (or anybusinessusa.com that would be hiring, especially out of small town Reno) if anything happened at Raving.
(Side note: Yes, I’m admitting I don’t have my degree and I’m okay with that.)
So pursuing my degree out of fear, well this never felt right to me. I have 10 classes to go, but I was going to do it for the wrong reason. I have NO DESIRE to finish my degree to “protect” myself. I have desire to take classes in what I’m interested in, to grow, to learn. But there are no online colleges I can find, that I can afford, that cater to writing, that is more important to me than what I’m doing now.
The next job I have, will not be working for “the man,” but working for myself, taking jobs for “the man” at my discretion, that is. So why pay over $10K to get my degree, to work for a “man” I don’t want to?
Jim said finishing my degree was being “smart,” being “intelligent,” responding to “market conditions,” arming myself with the tools that I need – education is always valuable. I’m not saying that taking 10 classes won’t make me more knowledgable.
However, looking over the syllabus at the college I decided on, one of the required classes for the BA in Business, is direct mail. One of the smartest guys I know, Michael Hemphill, owner of CSG Direct, can teach me more in two hours than I could learn in one semester about direct mail (and he’s taught me an immense amount already). Not only direct mail, but SEO, web, mobile, all that crap you need to know as a business person these days.
It’s these corporate folks that think that anyone worth their salt has put the effort into getting their four-year degree. Forget real life or OJT.
I’m utterly confident about this. Some of the most successful business folks I know, don’t have a degree, or don’t publicize it. Some of the most unsuccessful people I know, have degrees from those Ivy league schools and don’t have an ounce of common sense.
Lazy, cheap, or just destined for working for myself? Maybe I’m just a good justifier.
If Dennis ever retires at Raving and I find myself without a job, you can say “I told you so” when I’m competing with the 11% of Nevadans that are out of work and that could have their college degrees.
Fear of pursuing a dream … do we tell ourselves that we don’t have enough time or skill to do what we do best or what we know we are good at, or that has MEANING to us, or are we not confident enough in ourselves to take a chance?
Friggin’ money, car payments, being responsible.
I’ve got a friend, who truly has the “eye” for photography and I think she could make a “go of it,” while being at home with her almost elementary school aged child. She defeats herself when she compares herself with other photographers … which we all know, there will always be people more skilled than we are, more talented, and more BEAUTIFUL … but they are not US.
Whatever “US” means. The way we connect to people. The way we see things, through a camera lens, through our words, through the clothes we design. What we bring to the table is unique. We are all special in the way we give back to the world. No one can smile back at the universe the way we as individuals do.
There is only one “US.”
I’m drinking wine and listening to Harry James … and I’m not scared, I’m not lazy (the wine is telling me “You are not lazy.”) I’m writing, and what else can I ask of myself?
So ask yourself … are you not tackling that dream, that project, because you are lazy or because you are scared of failing?
You’re a helluva good writer, Chris, because you care about what you are doing — whether it is working at Raving or writing about your life on your blog. You are a blast to be around. You are warm and personable and you take in strays from the East Coast. You’re married to the nicest guy in three states, who is good looking to boot, and — from your account — sack time is the best it has ever been. You work for a progressive company with a cool boss and you have connections all over the nation because of it. You have two dogs, a lovely home and nice neighbors. You are evidently in fantastic shape these days. And yes, you are sitting there, writing, sipping wine and listening to Harry James. You don’t need no stinkin’ degree to make a living. Instead, universities should have you come in as a (paid) visiting lecturer, speaking about how to create a full and enjoyable life, and make enough money in the bargain. Word.
Tom … if I could figure out how to post your comment I will. Your words mean the world to me – for so many reasons – but coming from an incredible writer and a wonderful soul that you are, inspires me even more.
Ha ha! Yup! As you say “all that crap you need to know as a business person these days.” is soo true! Hilariously and authentically put–and I KNOW it, since I’m a small business person myself. These are good questions to ask one’s self, Chris. It’s complex for sure. As someone who was NOT career/money/status/”stuff”/homeowner/etc oriented UNTIL I hit my 40’s, really, it’s like, how do we choose between life experiences/quality of life/a job we love AND making enough money to take care of ourselves in a good & healthy way into our older years??? How do we have it all??? I find myself looking at my life of “experiences” for most of my adult life and now that I”m more future focused, how do I catch up with the rest of y’all AND not become miserable in the process of building my “retirement”??? Maybe in my case, I just need to be sure to continue to LIKE what I do for my income (*ie, my business) because retirement may NOT really be an option…(ps-no regrets for the hella fun, fascinating & globe trotting life I’ve had either…)
Monica – Yeah, in our rush to grow up, to get out of school, accumulating possessions, to start making money (or because financially we didn’t have a choice), we never realize that we may have (if we live that long) 55 years of collecting a paycheck from “the man.” I think you are one of those folks that saw that before any of us did, and experienced all parts of the globe and wonderful people before “settling down.” We may have won in the “accumulating possessions race” compared to you, but I’m not sure if that is really winning at all. BTW – The blog that YOU turned me on to http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/ has a terrific article about doing what you are good at compared to doing what you love.