All We Want is Everything You Have
“This book is pure self-helpy nonsense, and the author — like so many his age do — seems to think the only route to success is embracing your stupid special snowflake within.”
Goodreads reviews are brutal. What you just read is the first and last review I ever read about my book. Can I be honest? I am too cowardly to find the exact words.
The spirit of it is burned in my memory though.
Like all emotional wounds this scathing critique had a hint of truth. That book was mostly encouragement. Whole chapters were dedicated to reminding the reader that she could, in fact, do what needed to be done. I said it in various ways numerous times.
6 years removed from the book, I get the negativity. There could have been better research, stronger questions, tighter paragraphs. Maybe the book could be vastly better had I wrote it today.
I’m still not ashamed of the effort. Do you know why?
That book was all I had to give.
2020 has been stressful, but let’s be real, the collective pressures of being alive were already intense. You need to be EVERYTHING — researcher, video star, Tik Tok expert, podcast host, writer, speaker, networker, financial wizard. The list goes on and on. While constant learning of new skills does have its place, doing so endlessly can be crippling.
You can start to believe you will never be enough.
Luckily, there is a solution for that. Here’s what is enough: do what you already do best, as much as you can.
If all you can do is encourage, encourage the crap out of people. Smile and cheer and clap. Who cares what critic may slay you down the line? Are you afraid the world is going to suddenly receive too much positive energy? Is it impossible to imagine one person might need to see you wave from across the street. Is it a stretch to believe not a single contact in your phone needs a message that just says “Hey. I love you. I hope you are well.”
I love how Austin Kleon puts it:
“There are people flailing around, shouting, “Oh God, what do we do?!?”
There are people shouting, “I know exactly what we should do!”
And then there are people busy at work, whispering, “This is what I know how to do.”
I want to be in that last group.”
If you can make masks, make a lot. If you can donate money, give a little more. If you can educate, teach us how to explain things to our children. If you can write, spill your guts. If you grow carrots, give some to your neighbor.
Bring us everything you have.
After all, what else do you expect to give?