Sometimes I reexamine a career decision and wonder if it was a good decision. I always come to the conclusion that it might not have seemed like a good decision at the time, but it was a necessary one to help advance me towards where I ultimately want to be.
If this was Twitter, that would have to condensed to 140 characters and would be #noregrets.
As I reflect back on where I was a year ago, I realize that a year ago I was at a crossroads in terms of my career. I was accepted into the English MA program at Northeastern University although I had only applied to the English PhD program at Northeastern; I wasn’t accepted into the PhD program, so my acceptance into the MA program felt a bit like a consolation prize. Torn between pursuing a career in Academia and focusing on my writing, I reluctantly sent in my acceptance (along with the $100 fee).
In the end, I decided against going to Northeastern due to the very expensive price tag in loans I would be paying back in addition to my undergrad loans. At the time, my decision against grad school did not seem like a very good decision. For me, grad school was a sensible, logical decision given my strong background in academic research as well as my interest in Academia. Besides, going to grad school would make me sound impressive. Instead of saying, “I’m a substitute teacher, currently looking for something more permanent,” I could say, “I’m going to grad school for my Masters.”
A year later, I do not regret my decision against attending grad school. Because if I had gone to grad school, I would not have published my books or created this blog or any of the other blogs. I might have eventually, but building my writing career would have continued to remain on my To Do list.
I guess the point of this blog post is this: go after what you love. No, I rephrase that: don’t simply go after what you love; do what you love.
There is a wonderful video from a Dale Carnegie Training conference where the speaker says, “Give Your 100.” To illustrate his point, he tells the story of how a teacher one time called him to the front of the room and asked him to try to throw a piece of paper away. What did he do? He threw the piece of paper away. The teacher said no, try to throw the piece of paper away. So, the speaker took the piece of paper in his hand and kept flicking his wrist, making the motion of throwing away the piece of paper without ever actually throwing it.
If you try to be a writer, you won’t be successful because you won’t actually be a writer. Try is a word implicit of a void in action. Don’t let your life be filled with voids; fill your life with things you do, not try.