I did not choose my parents.
I did not choose my children.
I did not choose when the sun would rise today.
I did not choose the temperature. In fact, I moved here so it wouldn’t be 10 degrees, but it is.
I did not choose the actions of others around me.
I did not choose what was on the pages of the websites I read this morning.
I choose how I react.
I choose what I dwell on.
I choose what bothers me or what I let go.
I choose what I want to care about.
I have choices. I am grateful for them. They are what makes me, me.
More than my parents, my zip code, or my bank account balance, what I choose to think about is what shapes me the most.
I have more power than I can ever imagine. Now, there’s something to think about.
I’m not sure what to do. It will change what the next year of my life will look like, likely longer.
Like a child reaching out to pet an animal for the first time I find myself assuming the worst. Even while the dog wags its tail and makes no threatening noises, I still coil myself, expecting the worst.
What if, like the dog who was dying for affection, my opportunity was eagerly waiting for me. What if the attitude I am approaching it with was wrong? What if the next thing you have to decide was a chance to not only meet your expectations but exceed them?
What if the next thing required you to step forward with confidence, and then it would work? This is not a belief that all opportunities are simple, or easy, but right and better than you could imagine.
What if we had more control and our approach influenced to some degree what happened next?
You’re supposed to approach a dog with an open hand and a kind voice. Cautious is good, but you have to reach out.
Opportunities are not threats. They’re chances that we take and sometimes pay off.
That’s what many of the professional reviewers have said. Almost half actually.
The problem with those reviewers is that they didn’t have a 11 year old son who they wanted to see a fun movie with. I did. They didn’t have a day where they really needed an escape for a few hours. I did.
They aren’t you or me.
The days of someone telling you what movie is good our bad are over. I can make my own decision, thanks.
Where else in your life do you need to decide on your own what is good or bad?
We sat in the school library waiting for the ceremony to start. 80 adults and 20 middle schoolers sitting in silence because we were in a library.
If we were in the gym we’d be talking to each other but we were in the library and in the library you don’t talk.
There are rules
The first reason we don’t speak up, write, make a video, or put our work into the world is we are afraid of being corrected.
The second reason we don’t speak up is there are rules. Rules like “no talking in the library”.
But that’s not always a rule.
Ignore the rules
Here’s a rule about rules and creating.
If the rule is holding you back, ignore it for a while.
You can go back and follow the rule later but for now, ignore it.
Don’t optimize your headline
Don’t optimize your SEO
Don’t worry about your word count
Don’t add a cute picture
Don’t create a lead magnet
Don’t install 12 recommended plugins
You will never get better until you start.
You will never be known until you put your work into the world.
You will never be satisfied until you know you’ve done something brave.
What rules do you need to ignore so that you can create? Here’s the secret. They’re not really rules. If they were then I’d be in jail. They’re made up. They’re helpful sometimes but there’s no police force for creators.
Ignore the rules you are using as excuses to not create.