Failure Builds Confidence

I think there’s a little part of me that sees my introversion as preparation for a perfect debut. That my nights staying in to write, read, compose, are all ways of studying and preparing so that one day, I’ll suddenly appear in the crowd as a wondrous butterfly of talent and intrigue where before I was only an unassuming and undiscovered caterpillar.

But I’m trying to move past this idea of perfectionism where I only show up when I know I’m fully prepared. It creates a boredom of waiting to be ‘good enough’ and feeling frustrated by the prolonged days of not being there yet. Realistically, is there any possible sustainable way for me to be prepared all the time? Short of having lots of money/someone to delegate a bunch of my needs to and so on, I haven’t thought of any yet.

There’s that oft-quoted aphorism about shipping products from LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” I wonder if the same applies to putting yourself out there. Because I’ve realized that I hadn’t really discovered the depths of my resilience until I put myself in uncertain and vulnerable situations. That only by giving a shaky talk at a meet-up, by hosting an event with low turnout, by releasing an app that no one used did I learn to actually believe I could move past the stumbles and failures of vulnerable situations. Counter-intuitively, it seems that failure builds confidence.

I keep wondering though about how to put myself out there more. This weekly blog post challenge has been great for that. Each week I show up half-expecting this to be is the week that I have nothing to say. I’ve resolved to post whatever incoherency comes out anyway (and have), and it’s actually been delightful to see what thoughts and discoveries have emerged because of giving myself that space to write and explore.

So I’m trying to figure out how to do this is in other axes of my life, whether it’s programming, or songwriting, or poetry. It’s a question I began to think about in another post, of how to put myself out there while still feeling like a work in progress. Maybe it’s performing at open mics, maybe it’s posting more things to github and documenting my process more, maybe it’s finding more ways to collaborate with other people on projects together. Maybe it’s making a list of all ways I’m afraid to fail and running straight towards every single one.

Okay, let’s start with sharing a poem I’ve written.

why shouldn’t i want to be seen? why shouldn’t i connect my every anticipation to the marvelous potential of showing up with a narrative, so carefully prepared, yet still only a guess, an educated approximation of my shape and how it might fit with another?