When my father was in high school, his English teacher gave a creative writing assignment to the class. They were each to write an essay on what they believed to be the most difficult thing in life. My father did the assignment and turned it in at the end of their time. They received their graded papers a little while later and to Dad’s amazement, he had received 100%. This perplexed him. He had not finished his essay when he turned it in. In fact, he was unable to conjure any lines past the first sentence. There were twelve words on his paper when he turned it in and there were twelve words on his paper when he got it back, yet he made an ‘A’?
“The most difficult thing in life is whether or not to try.”
He could not think of anything else to write. He tried. He wanted to. He tore at his conscious thought, digging for something to surface in his mind so it could surface on his paper. But nothing did, and nothing needed to. He could pull no more words to back this statement because there were no more words to back his statement. It was rational in its logic and philosophically-definitive in its abruptness; it was true.
Every great idea is clouded with self-doubt. For every minute spent day-dreaming about the goals and successes awaiting ourselves on the outset of our plans, there are three minutes spent doubting ourselves and imagining all the various potential downfalls to begot us and our amazing dreams. We fantasize ourselves implementing everything we believe we can, then we terrorize ourselves into doubting we can succeed. We anti-believe.
Doubt is natural. It is our conscience making us double-check what we are doing but it has become so readily rampant in ourselves, boiling just under our bravado society-wide, that so few are still even TRYING to fight it. We sit and wait, wanting to try but complacently never doing so. Days are spent not fulfilling ourselves. Evenings are depressed, spent thinking of the things we didn’t do but should have. We then climb into bed, tucking ourselves in with pepped thoughts of how we can right today’s laziness with tomorrow’s productivity. We imagine how self-fulfilling we will spend the day, because tomorrow is a new day and it has new potential and possibilities. But then morning rises and with it comes a dreadful forethought: what if I can’t do it? We rise immediately doubting our abilities and our plans. We look at all the potential that waits in the day and it becomes daunting. We get discouraged that there is so much to be done in a day, that how could I ever hope to attain everything I planned. We bed with an itinerary of production and wake with a lackluster drive for the day and the potentials we had seen in it the night before.
So many lives and potential have been squandered on self-doubt. We are living in a world where our self-fulfilling prophecies are self-doubted out of existence. Where every dream we have for ourselves is drowned in tide after tide after tide of doubt. We cease trying because we are scared we will fail, and quitting is always easier than failing.
The worst part about trying–the most difficult thing about the most difficult thing–is it cannot be taught or given. Trying must be learned on one’s own. It must be fought for. It is the Phoenix, rising from the ashes of our own doubts and failures and birthed in the light of our own perseverance.
In the end, I do not fully agree with my father’s paper. I do not believe that the hardest thing in life is deciding whether or not to try.
The hardest thing ever in life is to try in the face of self-doubt.