Do you not believe in yourself?

I know I don’t. Not most of the time. Neither did this guy.

Yes, there are cases where people put their work out there, and it isn’t good enough. There are also voices that will never be heard, because we see others failing and we assume the same will happen to us. You have people in your life saying you have talent, and you want to think they are biased. You want to ignore them. You have other people saying you don’t have what it takes, and you think this is tough love, that they know the truth of it. It’s easier to listen to the latter than the former, sometimes.

Dare to fail, people. I dare to fail every day. Sometimes I do fail. But stuffing that application into an envelope and tearing it up year after year like this young man did is a far greater travesty. If you make a fool of yourself, the world will move on. And so will you. But if you succeed . . . well, the world will stop for a moment and take notice. And neither you nor them will ever forget that.

16 responses to “Do you not believe in yourself?”

  1. Priceless! Thanks for sharing!

  2. GO FOR IT!

    If all the kids who are bullied in life or are put down, and don’t do well due to anxiety and/or depression, can see the courage in this man and the fear he put himself through to achieve his dream, may they take encouragment in facing the life they live.

  3. Most of the time I don’t, but I keep pushing forward. Good post!

  4. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s a sure bet that no one else will either.

  5. Gah! Tears! This is why I watch these shows. I have watched the Susan Boyle audition at least a dozen times for the same reason. Gotta love the underdog.

    And yes, you have to believe in yourself. I have some family members, who, while not actually saying anything bad about my books, have just never mentioned them at all in the three plus years I’ve had them out. Not one time in all the family gatherings–even when other family members asked how my books were doing. They just ignored the conversation. So, someday, I’d love to have a moment like this guy had. (but not singing! lol)

  6. Believing in yourself sets you up for possible success – and possible ridicule. If you don’t take the chance, put your work out there where it can be read, and keep learning, you guarantee your failure.


    No one will come looking to see if maybe you have something interesting under your bed.

    A guaranteed failure is a lot worse than a little ridicule (or a little indifference). No one ever got better at writing by not doing it.

    Like many people, I’ve put some of my own work up for public scrutiny – and will publish the novel-in-progress when it’s finished (it’s going up scene by finished scene on my blog every week). It was very scary at the start – oh, my gosh, what will people think of me? – and then I got over it. And I have met some wonderful bloggers, and writers who give market-tested advice.

    Beginning is hard – but, once you’ve started, it is done, and you don’t have to worry about that one any more. Like speaking or singing in public, with some invested effort writing in public gets easier, and you tackle harder challenges as the opportunities arise.

    Life is too short as it is.

  7. I’ve always told my students that being an artist means having an opinion: about what’s good and what’s not, what you like and what you don’t. I think you need that so you aren’t victim to the opinions of others.

  8. Very inspiring Hugh and VERY true!

  9. Fear of failure can be a cause of failure. Emotional sensitivity, while it can be a key ingredient in great art, can also inhibit the creation of art itself. I’ve been writing for more than half my life, and I only found the courage to finish a novel this year. It’s often easier to doubt than to commit, but I’m working on finding faith in myself.

    Posts like this help me with that process. Thanks.

    1. Congrats on finishing that novel!

  10. I second that you on that, Hugh, but also – Dare to succeed!

    I spent 20 years (half of my life!) writing stuff that I thought was no good and just throwing it away. I enjoyed writing, and never stopped, but until 2011 nearly everything I wrote got deleted because I had no confidence in it. I submitted one children’s book to about thirty agents in 2006 (I think) and got just one reply that said no thanks (yes only one reply to this day). After that I didn’t bother, I just carried on writing for fun (like singing in the shower?).
    Now I do this writing lark for a living, and all because I tentatively put the first chapter of my latest work-in-progress up on feedbooks 2 years ago.

  11. I was this young man not so long ago. I stuck my neck out and risked humiliation. You were the inspiration in that very life changing endeavor and my life has been forever changed. It is possible we get in our own way and sometimes in a brief moment of courage we step forward. And sometimes, people walk forward with you. Thank you.

    1. My shitty book covers were your inspiration! That’s awesome!! :D

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