I don't really like to stand out.
(Oh really? Writing in a blog every day for nine years? Owning a store? Constant Facebook posts? Writing books? Me, me, me!)
Odd statement, I'm sure. But when I was depressed, oh those so many years ago, I always felt like everyone was watching me, judging me. That was followed by years of agoraphobia, which I still have a touch of.
So my fondest desire in those years was just to fit in, you know. NOT be noticed. Walk in a crowd and be one of them.
I've never cared for riches or status. Respect yes, status who gives a fuck. Honestly don't care about possessions or wealth, but do want some security.
So in most every way that counts for me, I've been successful. After years of struggle, the business is performing well enough for me to take time off to write. My writing has resulted in books being published and more than a few people reading them. I've got the greatest wife in the world -- I still love her madly, and respect her more than ever. Todd and Toby became admirable men. My cat...well, lets not talk about that.
I don't wear any clothing that will make me stand out -- I don't even wear hats. My hair stays within unremarkable perimeters. My way of handling crowds these days is to remind myself "It isn't about me" and to try to blend in.
I see nothing wrong with middle class values. Sorry. I think they are just fine. I live by the rules generally. I try to stick to my own code of ethics. Be honest and forthright and try not to criticize (my biggest failing) and be modest and nice to others (again, a failing) and I do my civic duties.
There have been a few times when I was on the verge of stepping out from this comfortable stasis -- and almost every time I've self-sabotaged, which I can usually only see in hindsight.
I do think it is important that a person not overreach. Don't reach for something where you are going to be bad at it, not just for your own sake but for the sake of others who might be depending on you. I'm not a Live For Today kind of guy. I don't think this makes me a coward, I think it makes me prudent.
Basically, success will come when it should come, and it should be organic, and it should feel comfortable.
I know all this runs counter to the American Way. I've often advised other business people to slow down, to not try to expand or duplicate too fast, but it always falls on deaf ears, because by God that's not how it's done!
Fame and Fortune seems to be the ideal. Everything on TV and the Movies and Books and every other form of media pounds that message into us.
I'm more of a stoic. What you think of me is your business, not mine. I live by a set of standards, and it doesn't matter what the outside world thinks of that.
There is nothing wrong with being modest. Nothing wrong with living your life without fame and fortune. Fame and fortune would be a pain in the ass, frankly. (Well, maybe not the fortune.)
Not that any of that is likely anyway.
I'm currently taking a step which is a little outside my comfort zone. It probably won't succeed anyway, but I'm going to try. I'm going to attempt not to self-sabotage myself. I will take one step at a time, and if at any point it becomes something that doesn't fit my self-image, if I have to make too many compromises, I'll let it go.
I'm not saying it's overreach, per se, but it definitely takes me away from my comfortable middle-of-the-road-existence. Then again, it may turn out to be just that. Modest success.
Weirdly enough, that's kind of what I'm hoping for.
4 days ago