I often find myself uncomfortable as I contemplate possible blog entries. As I have said before the personal blog is a very peculiar concept (see “Is This Ridiculous?”). That said, over the past two months I have learned to enjoy the cathartic qualities of the personal blog cocktail: two parts communication, one part exhibitionism, and one part self reflection. But this amalgamation of purpose is exactly what makes me nervous.
Certainly, I cannot write as freely in a blog as I would in my own journal. The opinions of my friends and family hover over me as I consider what to discuss next. Is this offensive? Will he/she/I be embarrassed by this? How will this look when its dug up thirty years down the line, as I embark on my first political campaign?
It is these fears that hold a blog, or any other matter of expression, back from its true potential. Brave writers who indulge in the uncomfortable generally write the most compelling stories. This is true of almost any endeavor – those who are prepared to take the greatest risks, stand to reap the greatest rewards…or fail, or be humiliated, or (insert other worst-case scenario here). Yet, even in failure and humiliation, great risk takers succeed. Thomas Watson, founder of IMB offered this advice:
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure…”
The thought here being that failure teaches lessons that exponentially increase your chance of success. Thus in taking a risk you have already succeeded. This is sage advice, but extremely difficult to apply to one’s blog, much less one’s life. I’m terrified of writing my feelings for fear of ostracism. I’m terrified of approaching a girl for fear or rejection. I’m terrified of investing my time, money and hope in a single business idea for fear of failure. And yet, my only hope of writing a good blog, meeting a beautiful girl (note I’m censoring myself here), and starting a successful business lies in taking on the risk of failure.