This blog would not exist if not for my friendship with Tom Wootton, who has his own PsychCentral blog and founded Bipolar Advantage, an organization that takes a refreshing and empowering look at bipolar conditions. Tom has taught me a lot, but one truth he showed me has been especially on my mind today. He once pointed out that no matter how hard you try, success is never guaranteed. If you give up, on the other hand, failure is certain.
I opened the ‘dashboard’ for this new blog and saw that it has been viewed exactly once today. Granted, this was the first day of a new blog that hasn’t even been officially announced and listed yet. There is no reason to expect any traffic, but my immediate reaction was dismay.
It feels so daunting to start yet another blog in a universe that has millions of them already. Is it worth the effort? My original blog, WillSpirit.com, has been running for fifteen months and has never really taken off. It gets a lot more than one reader per day, but it’s not getting thousands. I’m ashamed to admit it, but when I saw my readership for today it was tempting to simply abandon my Guideposts to Happiness project.
It’s not that I dislike working, or even that it would break my heart if the project flops. The problem, more than anything, is that I want a sure thing. Assured failure almost seems preferable to uncertain success. If I give up there will be no fretting, no checking the statistics, no wondering why no one visits. There will be predictable silence, and something about that is attractive. Or at least more appealing than the edginess of launching a long-shot venture.
But life is not meant to be certain. Nothing in the world suggests that we are meant to know what’s coming, or to have guarantees of any kind. Life is meant to be lived on the fly, with no idea of the ultimate destination. It’s about soaring into the unknown with every wingbeat. It’s about trying, and risking, and hoping. But most of all, it is about letting go of the result.
So I’ll keep going, on the assumption that if what I write has any significant value, it will find its way to a readership. I realize that’s a naive expectation. Many voices, more talented than my own, remain obscure. But I make the choice to try. I resolve to not give up. Not simply because I want a successful blog, but rather because I want to establish a pattern of persistence in the face of uncertainty and obstacles. What more valuable habit can we foster, than the habit of not giving up?