I seriously feel for people who need some sort of validation. A pat on the back from other people to feel confident about themselves and the things they do.
Some time in this life, a million and five years ago, a talented young person stood tall somewhere in Brooklyn, USA, and believed in his abilities. He decided to back himself up. But before then, he went shopping around his rapping / musical skills to many record companies, hoping to score a deal. And here’s the thing, he had mad skills! But he struggled to land himself a recording contract.
Along the way, there were people who cheered him on, patted him on the back and told him sweet sounding words – that he is talented. That his delivery was crisp and unique. But they turned him down anyway.
After much running around, he had had enough of it! He then decided to start his own record label and e his own music. He was forced to fund himself!
And therein lies the biggest challenge. It is easy to say to other people that they should give us opportunities to prove ourselves. This way, we absolve ourselves of the responsibility of potential failure and of course, hardship. The person taking you on is the one that bears all the risk if what you do doesn’t work out. In plain terms: we hide behind other people.
When the roles are reversed and we have to be the ones to give ourselves an opportunity, we find it difficult. Often, when we have to bet on the ourselves and put up our own money and other resources, it is much harder than letting someone else do it instead.
This begs an interesting question then: Do you really believe in yourself?
Because letting someone else decide whether you are good enough seems crazy to me! It’s too much a responsibility for any one person to handle. Just like it isn’t prudent to grant any one man a lot of power.
Knowing all responsibility lies with you, if I gave you some resources and instructed you to go give yourself a grand opportunity and practice what you say you’re good at – would you take it?
* raises hand * I definitely would!
If I can’t do that, then my self confidence is conditional. It depends on certain circumstances.
Anyway, when the young Jay-Z started Roc-A-fella Records with Dame Dash and – Kareem “Biggs” Burke, they were at their wits’ end. They were exhausted from all the running around giving other people too much power to decide whether they were good enough. They put up their own money. They bet on themselves. They decided to go all-in and be confident about their work.
In retrospect, it is a bit lunatic to think that so many people passed up the chance to sign Jay-Z. Just as it is crazy to know that some people didn’t believe in Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey; that some people passed up the chance to fund Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs to build what is today arguably the most valuable company in the world, Apple Inc. It is insane.
But then again, those people are mere mortals. Some surfer from short sightedness; some, jealousy; when you ask for an opportunity, you intimidate some and they’ll try frustrate your determination. It is the nature of man. Get over it.
Better yet (if there’s anything you learn from this rant, let it be this): Never ask for permission from other people to do what you really want. Rather ask for forgiveness if it bombs out. Learn to bet on yourself!
For demonstration, look at where Jay-Z is with his craft as you read this piece. And all the other people who were told they should try something else when they begged to be taken on by other people.
My father never asked for permission to be himself. To do what makes him happy. He went forth and did what he felt he needed to do. I now fully understand why he was this way.
As such, after running around, too, wearing my legs off, seeking for other people to say to me, you are a prolific writer, Themba, you’re the absolute best! I thought I need to change course and make the decision myself that I am an absolute artist at what I do. And stand by it!
Chasing affirmation is tiring. Unnecessary at best.
Needless to say, I have done a lot of introspection, looked at how I feel about my work, how a few people who matter feel about my work (and let me tell you, they squirm with delight when they experience my craftsmanship) and this is what came of it…
I am a phenomenal Writer and my decision is final!