This I Used To Believe
This is a rather complex meme stemming from friends’ discussions, prompted by a This American Life podcast called “This I Used To Believe”, about changed ideas and philosophies: what people no longer thought or felt, and why.
I thought it was sufficiently interesting to take a stab at it myself.
I used to believe if you could do something you should, perhaps must, do it, particularly with respect to writing. I’m not convinced I’ve stopped believing that about *myself*, but I’ve become a great deal less demanding of other people. Mostly I don’t seem to go in for must (for other people, anyway) anymore, and I just hope they have the courage/insight/chance to do what makes them happy.
I used to believe I could teach a pig to sing, which is perhaps more commonly known as believing I could change people. Somewhere in the past several years I have instead come to believe that people will change themselves–or not–depending on their want and need to do so. The best I can do is encourage them, but there is absolutely no point in throwing myself against a wall repeatedly in the hopes that it will finally give. It won’t. The pig and I are both much happier if I do not try to teach it to sing.
I used to believe it was easier to not take risks. In many ways I got over that when I was thirteen and failed to meet a TV star because I was too worried about being wrong about that cute boy looking familiar, and didn’t want to risk being embarrassed. It turned out he /did/ look familiar, because he was Kirk Cameron of the then-extremely-popular show Growing Pains, but I was so worried about being wrong that I only got to ‘meet’ him as part of a crowd of other teens once they discovered he was there, instead of one-on-one half an hour before the rest of them noticed.
Similarly, I used to believe it was easier to not try and to fail than it was to do the work. It wasn’t. It’s a hell of a lot easier to try–succeed or fail–than to go through the self-loathing emotional wringer of *knowing* I was failing because I wasn’t trying. This largely manifested itself in bombing out of college.
Also similarly, I used to believe success wasn’t scary. Success is in fact completely fucking terrifying, which possibly I knew somewhere in my hind brain and therefore sabotaged myself with regards to school. It is equally possible I was just a dumb teenager who had no well-developed study habits. :) Anyway, I learned success was terrifying when I sold URBAN SHAMAN. I don’t think I’d ever been so scared in my life. It becomes less scary, though, once it’s been faced.
So. What did you used to believe?
That lawyers work on your behalf.