I’m Afraid of Being Pollyannaish

I’m very afraid of being pollyannaish. I’m scared to pursue what I love because there’s no obvious way to ever monetize this. It feels foolish to do what I’m doing right now: almost like doing therapy in public. Writing out my unfinished thoughts here, and probably nobody ever reading it. And if somebody ever reads this, they’ll probably judge me for this.

But where does this fear of being pollyannaish come from? And maybe more importantly, why do I have it, and why does it have such a strong hold over me?

Right now, I’m on this path of prolific practice. I believe it will lead me to good places. But I’m also scared that this is all a foolish endeavor. I’m scared that people who know me will read this and lose respect for me, think lower of me.

And of course: You shouldn’t be pollyannaish. Life is tough. It eats up the weak, and sometimes the strong. It’s often unfair and unpredictable.

If you have a way of making a shitton of money—shouldn’t you do that first? Give a few years of your life to that, and then, once you’re financially settled, you can start doing the thing you love, free of worries.

Like I said yesterday, it’s not such an either-or choice. You can run things in parallel. As Steven Pressfield pointed out in his latest book, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be, James Patterson would come into his office two hours early every day to write fiction, before beginning his actual work as creative director of an ad agency. He’s now sold more than 300 million books. Obviously there’s a way to keep your day job and pursue your creative calling. But the truth is, I’m no James Patterson. I’m neither creative director of a major ad agency, nor will I ever sell hundreds of millions of books. So for someone like me, am I not being a Pollyanna, isn’t it self-indulgent to do this?

Ultimately I think I’ve been pollyannaish once in my life before, and the place it led me to in life was not a good place. Back then, I ended up alone, poor, ridiculed, and I didn’t see a way out. I had to go out and seek low-paying jobs—the kind of jobs nobody else wanted to do—and eat humblepie for a few years. It was tough. I don’t want to make that same mistake again.

But that protector part in me, that wants to prevent me from committing that same mistake, is a bit overeager. I appreciate what it’s doing for me, because yeah, I definitely want to end up there again. But I also don’t think this militant approach is necessary. I’m not the same person I was back then. I have accumulated a lot more life experience.

And yet, I’m still afraid of being pollyannaish. I’ll just leave this here as is. It was a thought that came up and that I wanted to explore. There’s still more to untangle here, still more to figure out, but that’s for another day.

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