“You’ve got to get to the stage in your athletic life where
going for it is more important than wins or losses.”
“Full effort is full victory.”
When I heard Arthur’s quote recently, it really struck a chord with me, because this seems equally true for the writing life. It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of whether what we’re writing is going to “win” or “lose” out in the marketplace that we forget that what really matters is “going for it” — giving a full effort to the work we’re doing.
Full effort is what’s totally within our control: that’s where the playing field is equal for everyone. We’re free to give full effort or to hold back and give less than our best. More often than I like to think, my concerns about results or how what I’m doing will be perceived have tempered what I’ve written or haven’t written. Perhaps the same is true for you — at least part of the time.
But what do we sacrifice when we worry about outcomes, when we’re preoccupied with demanding a specific result from what we’re doing? The answer, I think, is a lot. We sacrifice the freedom to give play to full range of our creativity. We sacrifice the joy that comes from flinging off both self-imposed and externally imposed limitations about the kind of person we are and the things that really matter to us. And often, I think, we sacrifice the deepest light we have to offer, the light that that shines from within the dark places we have to find the courage to explore.
When we worry about results, our attention is divided. That’s what my friend and mentor Rob Gilbert said recently on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690). I think he’s right on target. A preoccupation with results gets in the way of giving a full effort. And here’s one more bit of advice from Rob: “When really going for it is more important than what you’ll get out of it, the results will take care of themselves.” So let’s all go for it and write dangerously. Write on!