Arrogance

In my wanderings I ran across this last night:

Don’t be afraid of what people think. For each single person you worry about, deduct 1% in quality from your writing. Everyone has deductions. I have to deduct about 10% right off the top. Maybe there’s 10 people I’m worried about. Some of them are evil people. Some of them are people I just don’t want to offend. So my writing is only about 90% of what it could be. But I think most people write at about 20% of what it could be. Believe it or not, clients, customers, friends, family, will love you more if you are honest with them.  So we all have our boundaries. But try this: for the next ten things you write, tell people something that nobody knows about you.

From 33 Unusual Tips on How to Be a Better Writer

I struggle with writing the things that scare me.  I know I know – that’s where the good stuff, the interesting stuff, the MEAT (and we know I like meat), of the matter is.  So I’m going to try.

Here’s thing number one that not many people know about me:  I have an arrogance problem.

I fail dumb things.  Purely due to arrogance.  I’m not a genuis, but I generally do pretty well.  What?  You want specifics?  OK – 3.8 high school GPA, 3.4 college GPA, did well in S-390 (Fireline Calculations — involves math and nomograms!).

But I failed my first driving test.  Not the driving part.  The written test.

Here’s the thought process that led to that failure: “almost everyone drives, so they must have passed the test, so it can’t be very hard.”

It’s not hard, as long as one studies.

This arrogance pops up and bites me in the butt when I’m least expecting it.  I walk into the situation thoroughly confident (overconfident, obviously) and walk out with my tail between my legs berating myself.

Over the years I have improved at listening to my little voice that says “Emily, you aren’t a genius, and you should probably study.”  I remind myself of failing my driving test.  I bring myself back down, remember that what other people do or don’t do has nothing to do with me.  I am a person that has to put honest work in to be sucessful; I cannot write a paper about Mary engraving bullets “Mary Loves James” in the period before I hand it in.

I believe we each have themes in our lives.  One of my themes is work.  Hard, elbow grease, sit down and study work. I have to accept and honor this theme.


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