Doing something badly or not at all

Doing a thing badly or not at all, is a question that has rather haunted me.

When I was younger, I was a disciple of perfection, so tended not to do anything, unless I could do it perfectly. That, of course, is rather meaningless, and entails doing nothing for long periods of time – what a waste.

But rather like the drinker who crawls inside a bottle for twenty years to escape the pain and finds, on her re-emergence that all her lessons are still waiting to be tackled, doing nothing for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, is only a stop-gap. Sooner or later, these same lessons will come knocking at the door, demanding admittance. And it’s not use, either, deciding flatly never to engage, because there is a strong likelihood that the same lessons will come back again in future lives. (This is a subject I write about in my next book, Making Miracles, set to be released next May – which is just my way of saying, as soon as I can find the time to do it.)

I now would much rather attempt a thing, than decide not to bother, so long as I consider it worth the attempt. I think, also, that as we get older, our fear of making a fool of ourselves diminishes. We get to thinking that it might be rather fun to take a chance on something, for a change, it might be rather fun to make a fool of ourselves. If we don’t do it soon, when will we? And who cares? Our time becomes very precious when we can feel its tangible quality.

Also, I admit, this particular lesson – that it is better to try and fail than not to try at all – has real resonance for me because, as a disabled youngster, I felt such intense pressure to pass myself as ‘normal’ – whatever that means! I would sooner have volunteered to fly to the moon, than single myself out for the intense ignominy of failure, no matter how unlikely that outcome, and no matter that most others would not be thinking about failure, while watching my attempt.

Strange, the things we torture ourselves with when we are young. Youth may have a blank canvas to work with but self-definition is often painful in the acquisition.

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