Daring Mediocrity

Transforming the definition for "effort and difficulty" into "that time when neurons are making new connections, when their brains are getting smarter." ~ Paraphrase from Carol Dweck’s TED Talks presentation. 
Once, Sahrish said that reading my blog feels like listening to an old friend talking.

Once, after chatting with Qusai about our creative progress so far in the last few years, I realized two things:
  1. That I have been writing more and publicly since I read Rettig’s book on prolific writers, specifically that chapter on perfectionism.
  2. That it’s easier to be brave when you have company
Those two things made me want to be braver and own up the mediocrity in my writings.

Owning up to my flawed writings sounds like: Yea, I probably can never make money out my writings. But it isn’t because I lack the education or training. It isn’t that my writings aren’t good enough. It isn’t because I’m worthless.

It also sounds like, Okay, my writing is not going to lead me to any recognition, prestigious prizes or publishing. Nothing beyond the scope of an amateur’s indulgent hobby. But that doesn’t make my writings unimportant.

By all means, if I had to choose between the security of marriage and social esteem, I would have chosen writing over again.

Because writing, to me, is true and reliable. It’s as close as I can get to reaching God by intellectual means. The whole process of reading-thinking-writing-repeat is as consummate an investment as taking care of a child.

I haven’t even begun dabbling in publishing.

To the people who matter, the people whose readership and company and opinion truly matter to me at the end of the day, they’d rather find me happy than not. Even if that happiness comes in the form of amateur indulgence.

And there is true, irreplaceable joy in going for broke to figure out what really matters. There are true returns of investment when we take care of ourselves, when we make the effort to stay true to ourselves. There is serious value in finding self-validation by doing the things that make us happy. And the most valued returns cannot be appraised with countable units.

Happiness cannot be measured with conditional rewards.

In a world where conditional rewards are heavily based on results and products instead of process, the work of finding joy in labor takes the heaviest toll. We are expected to be achieve awesome things at the cost of our day-to-day happiness. We are expected to outperform each other in everything we do. We would rather have more likes and followers than to find that fleeting moments of flow in doing the things we love.

Now, one of the ways to feel that we are better than others is by finding those who are performing worse than ourselves. And I think that’s a game I can afford losing for your sake. I think I have to dare showing you my flaws, my shames and my process of getting out of the cycle of my misery.

Not because I need you. No, I’ve passed that. I wouldn’t be writing publicly if I have not secured that "Writer’s Secondary Need for Security and Intimacy" elsewhere. I would not dare to even think aloud if I’m not writing this from a comfortable place where I am sure that I will be loved and wanted even if my writings suck.

It’s just that I’m trying to meet you and the demons of your doubts halfway. Inno, see here, mate, I have been accumulating some love and self-assurance, and thought I could share some of it with you. You’ve already made the effort to read this far, I think I can make it worth your time:
  • That, it would be easier for you to think that you can outdo me, that you can write and create and forwardbend better if I showed you my flaws. 
  • It would be easier for you to see the qualities in your work if you saw someone else (“me”) do worse.
  • I hope that by reading this, you’ll see how you can outperform my mediocrity, or find some sense of community, and that your work is not the worst in the world ever.
  • If I can do any of that, then I would have done my privileges some justice. And if you can do that, then you have a fair chance at being better than good enough. 
And that even good enough is a lot.
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