Luck versus Hard work & Recognising Your Awesome

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gosh, you guys, when did it become uncool to be proud of yourself? Was it ever cool to be proud of yourself? Everyone, all the time, is all, 'Hey, I'm not that great. I only managed to [insert awesome accomplishment here] because I was lucky. But you! You, you're fantastic, you're a genius!' Why is it okay to say unlovely things to yourself when we're so nice to other people we care about/admire? I hate this whole conversational pattern of self-deprecating comment + compliment (it's like a one-two punch! pow pow!) to which the other person replies with a self-deprecating comment + compliment. Usually it's about physical appearance ('Oh em gee, I'm so ugly, you're so pretty' 'No way, babe, you're gorgeous, I look awful' - seriously, I will delete my Facebook account if I see any more of this. And then I will move to a remote mountaintop retreat without internet. And live peacefully until the end of my days, never again having to witness the upload of someone's new default pic).

Is everyone worried they'll seem arrogant? I won't think you're arrogant if you like how you look, or you love your own books, or, you know, you actually value yourself the way you value other people. I'm talking specifically writing here, because being an insecure writer is what I know/do best, but you can apply this to basically everything. You can be proud of yourself without being arrogant. Saying that your success as a writer is mostly due to hard work does not discredit the hard work of writers who have yet to find the same success as you (find makes it sound as if writers stumble across book deals while adventuring in the long grass, doesn't it? Maybe they do) - to be entirely honest, saying it was luck is a lot more depressing to the unpublished writer (and also to me) than saying it was hard work. Yes, in the writing-and-publishing biz and a lot of other bizzes (biz's? bizi? I shouldn't use the word biz, I know. I'm just trying to sound hip and with it. I'm getting old) luck plays a part. And we know that.

Here is what I am saying: You are awesome. Other people can see your awesome emanating from you. Give yourself permission to increase your level of awesome. Give yourself permission to see that you are awesome. Stop saying 'I was lucky' so goddamn much (and quit it with the 'I'm ugly' too). You know, we're all pretty lucky. And we all (usually) achieve things through a lot of hard work. You're allowed to like yourself (probably a good idea, since you're stuck with yourself at least until death and then possibly longer depending on your belief system. I mean, I'm hoping it's just till death, because I don't know how long I'll be able to tolerate me). You're allowed to say that the awesome things you've done are a little more than just luck. You're allowed to be proud of yourself. People won't think you're arrogant, and if they do, they obviously need to find something better to think about.

Stop being self-deprecating. Seriously, stop it. It annoys me. As a writer, the things you have to write are just as important as everyone else's. As a human being, the things you say and have to contribute are just as important as everyone else's. Start liking yourself. Start being proud of your accomplishments and stop thinking they were just flukes. Yell from rooftops, 'I love Steph Bowe!' But, you know, replace my name with yours. Or don't. Entirely up to you.

Remember: Recognising that you are awesome is fine. Seriously. (As long as you recognise the awesome in other people, too. Don't go thinking you're Jesus.) Go forth and do awesome things.

Photo source: Mine!
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