No one tells you how hard the last part of something is. I mean across the board, The Lasts are Hard. The last day on vacation, the last song at the dance, the last slice of pizza. It’s something no one spells out for you.
What I didn’t also know is that The Last part of The Beginning is also really hard. [I really hate when I write like this. Like I’m hoping someone will throw sepia on it and my silhouette and attribute it to me so someone else will post it on their wall. NO ONE SPEAKS LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE. At least no one you want to know.]
(It’s still true though.)
A couple of years ago I had a random idea for a way to fix a problem at work. It turns out it was also a way to fix (what I hope is) a fairly large problem within the music industry. I didn’t know that I would still be thinking about that idea 2 years later, I also didn’t know that that idea would lead to me speaking in front of (collectively) thousands of people, interviewed, photographed, nor fired from my job. I was just trying to see if I could (change the color on your mood ring) fix a problem, and now somehow I ended up with a new skill set, and an internet startup that I am the founder of.
Anyway. So for the last 2 years i’ve been chipping away at it — for the last 3 months I’ve been slugging away at it. I am swinging with bats and clubs the shape of days and weeks (SEPIA ME) and I’m about to launch. I am going to use two of my least favorite and most abused words right now… I have like, literally, 5 things left to do on my To Launch list.
I’ve HAD 5 things left to do on my To Launch list for about 2 months. Each time I crossed off one, I discovered 5 more. It was disheartening. What I didn’t know, then, is there’s a lot of random bullshit that goes with launching a website that I hadn’t considered.
People need to be able to reset their passwords.
People need to be able to change their names.
People need so many things that ARENT FUN to create.
In the movie Waking Life there’s a quote that I’m too lazy to Google and plus I think it says more about me if I tell you how I remember it, rather than how it is. It goes SOMETHING like, there are two great (motivators? destroyers?) of human life, Fear, and Laziness… then something really fucking profound comes after that, I’m not sure what but it was an old guy in a bar, and it looked like crayons. Alright ignore that.
This blows to admit but I’m really super terrified. I have friends, family, loved ones, acquaintances, and colleagues who are all looking towards me with a sort of expectation. A sort of “Well Phil, we’ve really believed in you, and this idea of yours, and have set aside our expectations of you outside of this.” And it’s really the first time that i’ve ever really busted my ass, and I’ll just be really fucking bummed if this doesn’t amount to anything.
Point being, I think my fear of failure has really been slowing me down the last week or two. Because if you haven’t finished, you haven’t really failed, because there’s always the POTENTIAL that it’s going to be a huge success. There are so many report cards (Well, were) that have “Phil shows lots of potential” and I think that over time I decided that phrase was positive, when it’s not. At all. It’s really kind of the worst thing you can say to someone. Okay that’s clearly not true, calling someone a Jiggaboo, for example, would be a far worse thing to put on a reportcard but you know what I mean right?
With the exception of a million things, like racial slurs, telling someone that they have potential is tantamount (what a dumb word) to saying “This person is a lump of coal.” The world is filled with unrealized potential, and the truly crummy thing about …hahaha sorry I just had to stop myself from taking that coal metaphor and including some clunky reference to the internal pressures and external pressures and sure as shit that would’ve ended up with some crap about a diamond would someone please stop me?
I think I just like the sound of keys being pressed. I am going to get a drink of water.
All I’m trying to say is I’m about to launch my startup. I really hope it works out. If it doesn’t, feel free to feel really badly for me, but not too badly because it’s a first world problem and I should probably grow up.
If it does work out feel free to say something about diamonds and coals.*
* Another popular choice: Oysters, Pearls.**
** I prefer the Coal/Diamond metaphor, because it gives the impression that EVERY SINGLE (person) piece of coal could be a diamond, given enough time & pressure.*** The Oyster thing is sort of a “You can win the lotto” deal.
*** If you want a hug, put on your best Morgan Freeman and say “Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it really takes, pressure and time. That and a big goddamn poster.”
Out of curiosity, I looked up that quote from Waking Life. I was surprised to discover that the LEAD in is potential. I love it when life does that.
What are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic: fear, or laziness?