How am I going to change the course? How am I going to bring myself up to the level that I had always sworn that I could manage? How do I kick back up the volume of my writing to a point to publish 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6 titles a year? How do I build the discipline to do this without experiencing burnout? How do I build the network of support that helps me accomplish this? How?
This is a lot about discipline, which is why I mentioned that word in the cascade of how questions that I listed there. But it is also about overcoming that fear that likes to lurk around corners, striking when I least expect it. It hides, letting me believe that I have vanquished it, only to surprise me later. And if I am ever honest with myself, I would admit that it is always there, even after a believed victory. Honesty with fear is hard to come by though.
Bravery comes to mind. Bravery is when one acknowledges fear or anxiety while choosing to press forward anyway. It behaves as though it is ignorant of the fear that is there or as though there was no fear there to begin with. Conversely, cowardice is pretending that the fear isn’t there while refusing to move forward. What cowardice is not is knowing that there is fear and acknowledging the fear, then choosing not to move forward. Sure, I claim to acknowledge my fear, but in reality, I tend to pretend it isn’t there. I’ve been a coward.
Being a coward can be a good thing. Like I always tell my son, “it’s the learning from our mistakes that is the most important.” Cowardice is a mistake; it is a misunderstanding of myself and my true nature, or rather, the true nature of my actions. And I can see it now; I can see where I’ve been allowing myself to be that coward. If I can understand it and either accept it and move forward (being brave), or accepting it without action, then I might have the chance to learn something from all this. Lessons that we give to ourselves are often the hardest to learn, but that only means that I would have an uphill battle.
Discipline is one way that I could overcome this. If one follows the likes of Jocko Willink, David Goggins, Joe Rogan, and others, they pontificate on the wonders of discipline. Outwardly, it looks as though those guys are only talking in the realm of discipline surrounding exercise, about making sure that one is pushing through their fears to keep pushing forward in the weight room or on the track. If you listen closer, that outward appearance is only there as it is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate the lessons they are trying to impart; they are actually speaking on the wonders of discipline on all aspects of life. In fact, Jocko Willink is partly known for one of his sayings: “Discipline equals freedom.” In other words, through discipline, all is possible.
So the question is how… How am I going to shift from this current state of cowardice into a state of bravery, of discipline? Doing is the first step. To start this journey, I have to do it. I have to make the step, even if I am afraid, even if I am tired, even if I am looking at the cursor on the screen seemingly unable to type a single word; I have to just do. It won’t mean I am not afraid; it won’t mean that it won’t be difficult; it won’t mean that I will be stumble free. All it means is that I need to do. I need to write. I need to work through the fear and the anxiety, defeat it in little steps, not to eliminate it, but to work with it, to ease it.