(function($){$(document).ready(function($){$('#aside .widget-archive > ul').addClass('fancy');});})(jQuery);

Navigate / search

Philadelphia Is Cool Because It Birthed The Declaration of Independence In 1776, The Constitution In 1787, And Will Smith In 1968.

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

InspirationWhatever

I’ve seen it before, and I totally get that it’s supposed to be inspirational. I do. It’s supposed to make us feel like we can try anything and it’s okay if we fail, because hey. We can still screw up 24 more times before it becomes a big deal. That’s 25 colossal failures before there’s any pressure at all to succeed. So don’t worry. You have all the time in the world.

Right?

Sorry, no.

If there is one huge lesson I’m learning during this whole job quitting experience, it’s that the people who succeed — the people who thrive and are happy and who live the lives we all want to live — do so by singularly focusing on the big goal. And while they realize there might be multiple ways to achieve it, they also realize that you can’t walk across a continent by choosing to follow all of the roads at once.

That’s physically impossible.

So they know something the rest of us should know, but we don’t acknowledge it because that would terrifying:

You have to pick a road and stick it out.

You have to commit.

Because the only way you’re ever going to finish that novel is if you sit down and write it. The only way you’re going to run that marathon is to train for it. The only way you’re going to see Iceland is to buy a ticket. The only way you’re going to learn to cook is by getting your ass inside the damn kitchen and dirtying your hands up a bit, because guess what.

At the end of the day. At the end of your time here, the only person responsible for your happiness is you.

It doesn’t really matter if you blame someone else or discourage yourself by constantly comparing your accomplishments — or lack, thereof — to others.

There are people in this world who are so sickeningly successful. Who work and play and make us feel like we’re doomed to scramble up the sandy mountain slope forever with the gravel collapsing away beneath our feet and cuts on our palms just trying to chase them down because we will never get to that content and serene place in our lives and it’s so impossible.

Well.

It is if you’re trying to take 26 different roads at once. Or rather, if you don’t fully commit to the first road because you’re busy wondering what scenery you might miss on the others.

A super long-time reader of Domestiphobia who posts comments under the name NovaBlast (thanks, Eugene!) posted a video of Will Smith-isms on my post about choosing a word to describe our goals for the new year. One thing Mr. Smith says in the video is:

“There’s no reason to have a Plan B because it distracts from Plan A.”

Will Smith

 

And that, my friends, is the truth.

Safety nets are the reason I’m a 30-year-old writer wannabe and not a 30-year-old writer.

Plans B through Z got in my way, made me feel secure, and the idea that they even existed at all made it easy to meander along A. No rush, my mind said. You’re young. There’s still time. It’ll all work out in the end with no real effort on your part. Here. Have a cookie. Relax. It’ll be just like the movies.

But now I know.

That voice lies. That voice wants me to feel safe and secure and content in my laziness.

And that is exactly the right way to never accomplish anything.

Hey.

It’s okay to fail.

But fail trying your damnedest.

Fail because you tried, with 100% zest and enthusiasm, to succeed in the best and most direct way you knew how.

Then.

Then, if you have to, come up with a Plan B.

But remember. If something is second choice, it’s usually for a reason.

Will Smith — he’s so full of wisdom, you know — said something else:

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.”

will_smith1

A backup plan is realistic. A backup plan makes it okay for the first plan to not work. That would make it okay for me to not become a writer. For you to waste life doing things you don’t really care about.

And I really — really — don’t want to see that happen.

What’s your Plan A?

About these ads

Katie

Thank you for reading Domestiphobia! Knowing you stopped by totally makes my day. If you want to make my week, you should sign up for my mailing list for exclusive updates. It's free, guys, and I won't spam you. I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and if you want to connect!

Comments

Meg Anderson
Reply

I completely agree with everything you have said. I made my plan A when I was in college and that was to make a living with my art work. So far its working out pretty good. Im 30, Im president of a very awesome women’s professional art group. I am selling my work at very good shows and getting museum exhibits and Im pretty happy about it. What I am not, is complacent. I STILL work at it every single day becoz I love it and becoz thats what it takes. My goal is not to famous – anyone can be famous – my goal is to be sucessful – and Im getting there. :)

Katie
Reply

Meg, that is AWESOME! Do you have a website that showcases your work?

Meg Anderson
Reply

I dont use a website for a couple of reasons – people want to buy from it and shipping pastel art work is a headache times 10. It HAS to be framed and that means weight and that means super expensive shipping costs. If you want to see some of my work you can have Kevin (McDuck) give you my email and I’ll send you some :)

Katie
Reply

Hrm. You should still have an online portfolio. Because I’m totally an expert at these things and always practice what I preach. (Not.) I can’t afford any real art at the moment because we’re getting ready to do something this year that is likely going to cost a substantial amount of money (stay tuned), but please send to katie (at) domestiphobia (dot) net! I’m always on the lookout for decor I love, and SO prefer buying art over kitsch from the local HomeGoods. (Which is probably why we have very little — besides some photographs and select art pieces — hanging on our walls!)

Meg Anderson

Will do!!

Andi
Reply

Ugh, now I am depressed. My Plan B is so much better than my Plan A….

Katie
Reply

Wait. What? Plan A should always be the BEST plan. Don’t be depressed — I think your life looks incredible! =D

NovaBlast
Reply

Your Welcome Katie I am glad you like it yes I have been reading for along time because you are a great writer with a lot of talent I’m not sure if this is the correct writers term but your style is written as if we are having a conversation and I like that, If You like the Will Smith Video may i recommend a couple books to you?

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr.Spencer Johnson MD

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

The Business of the 21st Century by Robert T. Kiyosaki, John Fleming, Kim Kiyosaki

Those are the top three books I would recommend to any one. I actually wrote 5 comprehensive book reviews on a site called Squidoo. Squidoo is a site where you post “lens” an informational resource for people it is sort of a cross between a wiki and blog where other people comment on what you have published and my “lenses” has gotten some encouraging comments, My personal reviews of those books can be found here

http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/NovaBlast

My plan A has always to improve peoples lives and help them achieve their dreams which is differnt from the traditional 9-5 world where you are working to help achieve someone else dream and most often not achieving your own as a result. As the saying goes though you can lead a horse to water but you cant make them drink change only comes when someone is ready which is basically the topic of the first book I recommended who moved my cheese.

I think this is the longest comment I have ever made lol but I hope you find those books of the same value as you did the video

Katie
Reply

Thanks for the recommendations, compliments, and the inspiration! I will definitely check out your reviews. I have a loooong list of books to read, so I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually. :) Great Plan A! Though I’m not positive this is the absolute longest comment you’ve written — there have been some doozies, but I love it!

Matt
Reply

Definitely read “Who Moved my Cheese?” I read it in college and then a bunch of us at work passed it around a few years ago.

Katie
Reply

I have heard of that book before too, and it’s definitely made it to my list with all of the trusted recommendations. :)

Matt
Reply

Plan A:

Work regular job to save money.
Make homemade wine in my spare time.
Attend school part-time for viticulture/oenology.
Hone my wine-making skills.
Locate relatively cheap land for vineyard/winery.
Plant grapevines on my land.
Buy grapes from other local vintners.
Make wine from their grapes.
Groom my grapevines.
Make wine from MY grapes.
Sell my wine.
Quit my day job and focus on the vineyard/winery full-time.

I thought we planned all this out in Omaha? Justin is making the cheesecake. And maybe we will let him bake other things if he is lucky.

Katie
Reply

Haha DONE. I love your Plan A!

Stephanie
Reply

I see where you’re going with this, but what if you don’t have a plan A? Or even want one? What if you don’t really have a plan at all? What if you just want to see what life has to offer and to try things as the opportunities arise and just live? Because that’s me. And I’m pretty happy, you know?

On another note, there was a happiness expert on the Ted Talks podcast a while ago and after much preamble, said that the key to happiness is really just lowering your expectations.

Just saying.

Katie
Reply

If you don’t have (or want) a Plan A, then this doesn’t apply. And oh, how nice that would be! This applies to people who, for some inexplicable reason, have an intense *need* to fulfill a “calling” — to satisfy wanderlust, to head a charitable organization, to act, to become CEO of a major corporation — whatever. For those people, lowering expectations would never work. It would feel like giving up on the very essence of life.

I don’t know if you remember a while back I wrote about how my friend’s husband is a BASE jumper and how I worry about her living with a man who has such passion for something so dangerous. Not too long after that — just a couple of months ago, actually — he was in a serious jumping accident and was in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur for over a month. He very easily could have died, but after slamming into the building, he landed on a catwalk instead of the ground. He’s home now in a wheelchair and is expecting a full recovery, and I know — I know — he is busy planning his next jump. For people with a Plan A, there is no stopping.

I guess I should’ve added a disclaimer. :)

Stephanie
Reply

God, that sounds exhausting. Good luck.

Katie
Reply

I just now realize that I disagree with your assessment of yourself a little. I know I don’t *know* you, but you don’t strike me as the type of person who will just sit back and placidly let life happen. You still actively seek out interesting opportunities (travel, cooking classes, etc.) in order to learn and grow as a person. So while you may be more relaxed in that you don’t have a huge, ultimate “Plan A” goal, you’re certainly not passive, picking your butt letting each day pass by. So I guess that’s the dangerous part about thinking that way — the TED talk, while I’m sure well-intended to make people understand the importance of living in the moment and appreciating life, could be misinterpreted by some as, “You don’t actually have to try in order to make good things happen and reach your goals.” Which I think we can both agree isn’t true. :)

Stephanie

Mmm. Probably didn’t explain myself well. This is the problem with trying to be concise. I don’t wait for life to pass me by, or come to me, no. But I am very open to where life will take me and am flexible to that idea. I try to be relaxed and not worry too much about a plan. I swear, the most stressful question I ever get in an interview is when they ask where I see myself in five years. Because I always have to lie, and I’m not a liar by nature. But I honestly never know where Ill be in five years. And I don’t want to know either. I try very hard to take any opportunities to try interesting things that are available to me, but what those things are going to be, who knows? They get dictated by a combination of fate, finances, and my moods. This is my life and I’m going to live it in a way that I hope will be fun to remember when I’m old. That’s my only real plan.

As for lowering your expectations though, I do think there’s something to that. Because yes, I would love to spend my lifetime doing nothing but travelling. But reality says no. But I’m not going to be upset that I can’t do that. Instead I appreciate when I can travel, and when I can’t I enjoy going for walks and exploring my town and enjoying what I do have. I think how I interpret the idea of lowering your expectations for happiness is to sit back every now and then and realize that, yes, you might not have everything you ever dreamed of, but you actually do have a lot, and it’s pretty great, and that’s worth appreciating and enjoying. Just remembering to be grateful for the life you do have, you know?

Katie

I get what you’re saying. And I think I misinterpreted and we’re talking about two different things. I think we can meld the two of our ideas and come up with something like:

IF you’re the type with an ultimate Plan A, stick with it. But don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way. Live in the moment. Work with what you have. But don’t distract yourself to the point where you lose your drive and passion.

I think those two ideas can meld because one involves the “bigger picture” of gaining satisfaction by working towards a goal (if you have one) that you’re passionate about. The second is about appreciating every day moments. I don’t think they need to be mutually exclusive. :)

stefanieauld
Reply

I love this post! My only disagreement is calling yourself a “wannabe” writer. A very smart actor friend of mine who recently moved to NYC told me that she’s an actor, not “trying to be an actor”. She acts, therefore, she is an actor.

You write, therefore you are a writer (and a damn good one too).

Katie
Reply

You are awesome. And I’m working on that. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Catalina L. L.
Reply

I read the title as “Pedophilia is cool…” Wow. Surprise surprise, that happened when I saw it on the bloggess. I did a double take, and figured out what you meant, so I clicked through. Lesson learned:plan Bs are bad. So is Philidelphia, land of the pedophiles.

Katie
Reply

HA! That is awesome. I’m sorry if you were disappointed the post wasn’t about the merits of Pedophilia… But thanks for stopping by, and click through! I’m not half as funny as Jenny, but I think there’s some good stuff here. But then I’m biased. ;)

Katie
Reply

Aww, thank you!! (Probably could’ve come up with a better title, but I’d only had one cup of coffee by that point…)

Don't be shy... tell me what you think!