So, I loved this movie titled Addams Family Values when it came out
oh sweet baby Jesus over twenty fucking years ago YOU’RE KILLING ME a while ago, but weirdly the scene that’s stuck with me the most is just this short bit of dialog where Uncle Fester (played by Christopher Lloyd and his terrifying I have looked into the abyss and the abyss looked back into me stare) is getting a pep talk from Gomez about asking a woman out, and Fester says: “What if she says no? What if she says yes?” with his tone indicating that yes might actually be the way scarier answer.
Wish I could find a youtube clip for you, but we didn’t have youtube back in the stone age, and maybe no one’s gotten around to digitizing the petroglyph-filled stone tablets that we stuffed in our VCRs (Visually Creative Rocks), so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.
Anyway, there was a point to this other than how fucking old I suddenly feel.
And that point is: getting rejected sucks, and change is really fucking scary. But you should try stuff anyway.
We’ve all been rejected before, gotten our hopes up and had them dashed and it feels bad, man. Really bad. Rejection is the reason disappointment fajitas were invented. And change? Even when it’s a potentially positive change, it still means things are going to be different on the other side of that door labeled tomorrow, and you can never be quite certain how different. That can be really intimidating. Uncertainty can be terrifying stuff. But in many ways, life is an uncertain prospect. Maybe change is scary, but change also means you’re growing and living.
So you should try stuff anyway.
Because if you never try stuff, and you never do anything scary, and you never risk getting a little hurt, the likelihood that in sixty years you’ll be scrolling through ancient jpegs stored in your neural hard drive and wishing that you’d just done something when you were young and had fabulous hair and no mortgage, goes up exponentially. (Though don’t get me wrong here. I firmly believe it’s never too late to do the thing. Expect to see me out on dance floors up until the point I’m a disembodied brain in a jar.)
I’m not telling you to quit your job and run off to the beach and forget your car payments and paint seashells. But I think whenever there’s a chance on the horizon and you’re eyeballing and trying to decide which direction to run because you can’t quite tell if it’s a cotton-candy fountain or a pissed-off rattlesnake, the thing to really ask yourself is: What’s the worst that could happen?
If you come up with answers like jail time or complete financial ruin or grievous bodily injury and potentially death, then yeah, you might want to avoid that. But if the worst you can realistically come up with is I could get rejected or I might feel embarrassed? Rejection and embarrassment are part and parcel of the fabulous thing called being human. They suck, but you also eventually build up callouses, I promise. You learn that you are category 5 kaiju of pure awesome and it takes way more to stop you than rejection, than embarrassment.
And it’s a biological fact: regret stays in your system a hell of a lot longer than a plate of disappointment fajitas.
Take a deep breath.
Apply for the job.
Send the query.
Submit the story.
Do the thing.