Photo: Quinn Buffing/Unsplash
There are writers, filmmakers, designers, artists, and creators of all types out there who yearn to make art for a living but don’t because they’re caught up in everything that might go wrong.
They think about the time they’ll waste, the money they’ll lose, all the times they’ll be laughed at. They worry about the obstacles they’ll encounter. They let their excuses stop them before they step out of their boxes.
Even when you start, it can be tempting to quit, especially when there’s problem after problem.
I’m not following this unconventional path of writing because I have unwavering faith in myself. I don’t do it because I’m confident I’ll succeed or because I think I’m super talented.
I follow this path because, despite the external and internal struggles I encounter, I trust that everything will turn out okay in the end. I don’t always believe in myself, but I believe in the process.
It’s that simple. I assume time will do its thing.
I could be wrong, of course. Some people think that’s stupid, others naive. But I’ve never understood the point of assuming the worst.
A lot of life is already so dark and difficult. Our dreams are supposed to be about hope, so why wouldn’t we believe in them, in possibility or opportunity?
Why ruin what’s supposed to be ours?
In a Euphoria panel last year, the writer and creator of the show Sam Levinson said that stuck with me:
“Just keep driving no matter how many brick walls are in front of you because you’ve gotta have faith that they’re just gonna move the fuck out of the way.”
If you don’t want to listen to me, listen to Levinson: it’s about having a little faith.
In that same panel, Zendaya talked about how before Euphoria, she had no job for the first time in her ten-year acting career. She said that she kept receiving scripts that didn’t catch her attention. She declined auditions because nothing clicked.
She didn’t want to say yes to just anything just because she was desperate, so she waited. She trusted that something good would eventually come along, and then Euphoria showed up. Now she’s the youngest actress to have won an Emmy.
Yes, you’re going to deal with some shit. You won’t know which steps to take next. You’ll be offered opportunities that don’t work for you. You’ll get rejected. You’ll feel confused and lost.
But the reality is that no matter how impossible your problems feel, they’re not actually impossible.
You’re not supposed to worry about the future problems you’ll encounter. You just need to worry about showing up.
When I started writing, I had no clue what I was doing. Here’s the catch: I still have no clue what I’m doing.
It’s been a year, and I’ve grown a lot and gained over 2,000 followers, but that doesn’t mean I have it all figured out and have no problem writing every week.
I’m just going along with the process. I’m trusting that this route is going to lead me somewhere where I can potentially be successful.
That’s what life is all about, right? You figure it all out along the way — dating, taxes, mortgages, marriage. Your dreams are no different. If you can deal with whatever life throws at you, you can deal with your goals.
Zendaya also shared that, after a decade of being in the acting business, she still doesn’t have all the answers. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said. “I’m doing the best I can. I think this is right.”
It’s scary, I know. You don’t know what’s going to happen — but when do you ever?
The trick is to take it day by day.
If I think about the years it might take for me to succeed or the problems I’ll have to deal with later, I freeze. That’s why I don’t worry about it.
You can only control the moment you’re living right now.
The best way to reach your dreams isn’t to believe in yourself, but to trust the process. Trust that things that will work out, that you’ll be able to deal with your problems as they come.
You’re a lot stronger and smarter than you give yourself credit for. You’ve punched through, jumped over, and gotten around obstacles before — obstacles that you didn’t prepare for. You can get through whatever comes next.
It’s especially hard in your twenties — in this era specifically because there’s a lot of pressure to be successful now. To win. To get our lives together.
But no one, not one person, got anywhere because they had all the answers. You can’t develop a perfect game plan. You can set all the goals you want, but you won’t reach them all, and they’ll change along the way.
You merely reach the end by taking it day by day. Little by little. You find solutions to problems as they come, and you never once let yourself get so doubtful you give up.
You’ll never make it anywhere if you do that, will you? If you quit?
If you believe the odds are stacked against you, you’ll be proven right. But if you believe that you’ll be okay, you’ll be proven right, too. It’s up to you which mindset you’re going to take this journey with.