"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Idea for a Bloghop?

I don't think I've ever been able to really define what this blog is about. The best attempt I can make is that I try to explore everything that makes me... me. I've been in situations where someone's asked me a simple question like "Why don't you drink?" I'd try to give them an honest answer, but I would end up having to explain more and more about the decisions and experiences I've had up to that point. I'd eventually end up making my way from "Here's why I don't drink" to "These are my struggles with religion".

People are always interesting, even if they don't know it. There have been billions of moments, big and small, that have come together to make you who you are today. So I thought it might be a good idea to explore that. Tell me what you think.

The idea is for a monthly bloghop called "Question of the Month". Once a month (first Sunday or second Wednesday etc), I'll post an interesting question and everyone involved answers it on their own blog.

It could be really big and personal:
"Who's the biggest influence on your career?"
"What's something you turned down which you wish you hadn't?"
"What three things would you do tomorrow if fear wasn't stopping you?"

It could be lighthearted:
"What was the first concert you went to?"
"What's the best job you've ever had?"
"If you had to pick one now, who would be your best man/maid of honour?"

Or it could be ridiculously small in scale:
"Which Back to the Future movie is the best?"
"How many music tracks are there on your phone/mp3?"
"What's the best kind of sauce?"

Let me know if you think this would be fun to do. Any suggestions for improvements would also be great :)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Fear of Failure Week 3: Changing Tracks

As encouraging as the events of last week were, they kind of ruined my resolve. When I first pictured being rejected by girls, I imagined it becoming so natural that I could eventually just walk down the street, see a pretty girl, ask for her number and skip merrily away when she gave me the resulting no. Alas, I'm nowhere near that stage. It would probably be quicker to build a shopping center than it would to build up the courage to approach a total stranger and ask her out.

As many of you have pointed out, that's not the only way to do it - a lot of people ask out friends that they've known for ages. You already know you get along well and you have each other's interests at heart. I definitely prefer that option, but this project isn't actually about getting a girlfriend - it's about confronting rejection and being unafraid to look stupid.

There's another factor about asking out friends that I was hoping I wouldn't have to deal with - things getting awkward. When I went back to the pub on Thursday, I was hoping that both Holly and Rose would be able to carry on as if nothing happened. When I got there, Holly was nowhere to be seen. When Rose arrived, she mumbled her hello without meeting my eyes. Don't tell me I've ruined two relationships...

The situation didn't diffuse until after the quiz, when I went to chat to Rose's team and she started chattering away just like normal. It was a huge relief. By then Holly had turned up and I'd had a laugh with her too. I view this incident now like a narrow escape and I'm going to be pretty careful about asking out friends in the future (as if I'm not already...).

On the other hand, some things did happen this week that I can be proud of. The first came when I was hanging out with my friends at the Garden of Unearthly Delights - it's a carnival that pops up on the east end of the CBD during the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival. There were sideshows there and Mitchell and I became interested in the people trying out the strength hammer - you know, the one were you take the heavy hammer, and try to hit the lever so hard that the little weight shoots up to ring the bell. We were watching people step up and grab the hammer, some with self-conscious fear and others with arrogant bravado. Mitch and I discussed the different hitters' techniques and the science behind it, while the crowd gasped and laughed at the various contestants. There was clearly only one reason we were so interested - we wanted to have a go ourselves. What usually holds me back is that when people see me step up, I imagine they see how small I am and and think "This guy will be shit". I don't want to get there and prove them right. Eventually I took the plunge. I walked into the circle and handed over my five bucks (five bucks!) and then took the hammer with an air of self-conscious fear.

There were numbers printed along the shaft counting up in hundreds from 100 to 1000. If you hit 1000, you'd ring the bell. I had a go... And got 400. Whatever, almost half way was fine by me. I gave the hammer over to Mitch who scored 600. Shut up.

Later on, we were all sitting on the grass chatting when I was distracted by some lads who were trying out the basketball sideshow. Then one where you have to get the basketball into a hoop that's 1/16th of an inch bigger than the ball itself.It's not allowed to hit the backboard either. They really don't make these games hard enough.

These lads were taking shots at the hoop with great technique, but they just weren't quite getting it in. That is until one shot that bounced off the rim at different points about four or five times and then sank into the net. They let out a cheer and demanded their prize, but the carney hadn't really been looking and claimed it had hit the backboard. There was a full minute of intense discussion in which the boys drunkenly tried to explain the exact journey the ball took around the hoop before it went in. But the carney wasn't interested. So without a word to my friends, I got up and walked into the argument.

'Excuse me, I was watching. It didn't hit the backboard,' I said with as much confidence as I could muster. Everyone stopped and stared incredulously.
'What was that?' asked the carney.
'I was watching, the ball bounced off the rim like four times, didn't touch the backboard and went in.'
'Are you sure?'
I wasn't.
'Absolutely,' I said.
The lads looked at him expectantly, and he sighed heavily and gave them a prize. The lads cheered and thanked me as I walked back to my friends, who had been watching with wide eyes. They offered to buy us drinks or at least let us finish theirs. They kind of lost interest in me when they found out I don't drink, but I'd had my moment, so I was satisfied.

One more fantastic thing happened which will set me up for next week. I was watching a baseball game between the Adelaide Bite and the Perth Heat. It was the finals series, which is unfortunately not as big a deal in Australia as it is in America. There was probably around 8 000 people at the stadium, but they were all very happy to be there. One thing that did catch my attention was the Canadian announcer out on the field. Before the game, he was firing up the crowd with a bit of "Let's hear it for our Adelaide Bite!" Between innings, he would hold competitions among the crowd and take care of some of the necessary advertising. It was a job that looked like a lot of fun. I love hosting events because it just requires you to be the most entertaining person you can be, but also to be completely yourself. As the game went on, myself and the friend I came with were chatting about the game and how achievable it would be for the Bite to come back from 2-0 down. Then the announcer walked right past us and I got distracted. My friend kept talking for a full 15 seconds before I turned back around to him and said "Look after my stuff," and bounded off after him.

I caught up with the man and tapped him on the shoulder.
'Excuse me! Hi. You're the on-field announcer, right?'
'Yes I am', he said blank-faced.
'Do you mind if I ask... How did you get your job?'
'I just asked for it.'
'Right...' I didn't quite know what to do with that information. 'Do you... know someone within the club?' He decided to throw me a bone.
'Email Nathan Davidson,' he said.
'Right! Nathan Davidson who is the...'
'General manager.'
'General manager, of course! Thanks for your help!'
'No problem,' and he walked off.
I returned to my friend who had a perplexed look on his face.
'I've got a new job lead,' I said.

And so next week, that's what I'll try and do. I don't want to take his job of course, but maybe I can be put on the waiting list for when this guy moves on or even as a fill-in if he gets sick. And it doesn't just have to be baseball, I know the guy who announces for the Adelaide 36ers in the Basketball. I can try and get involved with my favourite sporting team of all time, the Port Adelaide Power. by this time next year I want to have stood in front of thousands of people and said the immortal words "Remember to pick up your empty bottles and wrappers as you leave."

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Elizabeth's Story

Here it is Michael! Got it in right under the wire (see the lead-in post here).

Once upon a time- as all hot epic poetry begins- a storm brewed in NY. The snow covered, leafless trees stood sentry over the eerily empty streets that only Eskimos would dare to travel.

Inside, the fire crackled serenely, though my brain was as tight as a chick in an SUV with road rage. Trying to relax, I slammed through girlie drinks, wine and champagne to survive my editing woes. The only result was a burp so big, a handsome logger with a perfect beard would have been proud to claim it as his own. 

A voice behind me reflected the belch with a stunned, "Geesh!" 

It was the talking cat. He shook his furry head at me as he said, "I thought the ban on leg shaving was as far as you'd go. Natural body hair really only works for the cat. For you? It's more like a hygeine surrender." 

Dropping my pen and grabbing a bite of chocolate, I asked the cat, "When did you escape Area 51?"

"I heard you needed a kick. That story you're working on- the one about the squealer fan falling for the Raven? Won't work. Even if they can bring down dem cheaters."

"It's a great story. It's truth!"

"It's bound for the round file. The NFL will never let it be published."

"But, but...it's epic." 

And it was. When I imagined the story I saw Books! Libraries!!

"I could bring down the cheats..." I said, my voice going flat and small. 

"Sorry," the cat said as he preened a paw. "No one wants the cheats brought down. Lose your fear of sex and write the real story."

"I don't understand...."

"Yes, you do. Come on, lady- grab that pink corset and coconut bra and stick them on the coach and the quarterback. That's a story that will sell."

"The coach and the QB? They're not supposed to fall in love."

The cat shrugged his furry shoulders. "Make it a threesome with a dragon in a tutu and we can sell the movie rights tomorrow."

"Ya think?"

"I know," said the cat as he walked across the back of the couch toward the fire. "It's about the power of the female bond."

"But," I said scratching my head. "They're guys."

"Not in your story. That's right...let it sink in, and then call the milkman and tell him to bring some peanut butter cookies for your wingman."

There and done. 

Thank you Michael! It was fun :)

The Blurb:

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.
Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.
Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.
Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach. 

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Fear of Failure Week 2: Valentines Day

I woke up on Monday morning listening to Fresh 92.7, the radio station I volunteer at. The breakfast team had brought in a girl from the office to play a game of matchmaker.

'Now Georgia, you're a stunning girl,' said Host Number 1.
'Yeah, I like to think so,' she replied cheekily.
'Which is why we thought it was time to get you a date,' said Host Number 2. 'We're going to play a game called "Um... no."'
'Because you are one of those girls who brings out the attitude when she's not impressed. So here's what we're going to do - Our listeners are going to call up and try their best pickup lines. If they can make you laugh, they'll score a date with you. If not, you're going to hit them with a bit of "Um... no."'
'So the odds are stacked against the listeners here, it's time to call! We'll hear your pickup lines after this track from Tiesto. You're listening to Fresh.'

I sat there in bed for a full two minutes wondering if I could do it. But you know what... It's a bit too early in the year for me to make a fool of myself in front of the whole city. For now, I'll stick to looking stupid in front of individuals or small crowds. I'll work up to entire cities later in the year. As it was, only one person had the guts to call, and he was a regular caller to the show. The rest of the listeners sent Snapchats directly to the hosts which had their pickup lines on them. Looks like they all felt too awkward to put themselves out there.

Last week I talked about the four things that I need to conquer in order to get over my fear of failure. I figured that since Valentines day was coming up this week, I'd tackle the biggest one first - getting rejected by girls.

Man, that sounds pathetic when I say it out loud. If you're a rare or first-time visitor to this blog, rest assured that I'm not this pathetic all the time. It's just a weakness that I need to get over.

So I needed to pick someone to ask out. But who? I'm such a stranger to the dating scene. Do people who go on dates usually intend to make it a long-term thing? Is a date like a job interview for becoming someone's partner? Or is it more like two friends of the opposite (or same) sex just enjoying each other's company? I don't know which one I preferred. Even to say you like someone doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. To some people, liking someone is one step away from love. To others, it's more of a "You're cute and I'd like to spend time with you." And then, at what point do you call someone your partner? I used to think that the moment you start dating someone, you're their partner. Now I see that's there's several degrees before that such as "A guy I'm seeing", "A really close friend" and "My booty call". It's this kind of muddy water that I would have to try and swim through in the lead-up to Valentine's day.

At the pub where I do my quizzes there's a girl named Holly. I deal with her to get the prizes, handle problems etc. Two months ago we'd had a conversation about how we'd both come to be single. Since then I'd wondered if I should or could ask her out. The correct answer is of course I can, it's just a matter of doing it. I've talked myself out of it a million times in the past, it just comes down to opening my mouth and worrying about the consequences later. This week as I was packing up my gear, I walked past her wiping down the bar. There was a big picture of a love heart drawn on the wall in chalk with the words "Cupid's Arrow" written inside and next to it was a list of ingredients used to make the corresponding cocktail.
'Who comes up with these?' I asked incredulously. Holly laughed.
'It's kind of a joint effort among all the staff. We sit around and have meetings on this stuff.'
'Is this one yours?'
'No, everyone's given up on taking my suggestions. My cocktails are awful. I don't drink cocktails, I'm more of a beer girl. What do you think of it?' she said, motioning back to the wall.
'It's very... Valentines-y'
'Yeah, that's the point.'
'Totally get that.' I could barely get the words out of my mouth because my heart was in the way. 'Have you got a date for Valentines Day?'
'Yeah, my boyfriend and I will probably do something.'

Yeah, that happened.

'Oh... a couple of months ago you were single.'
'Yeah... and now I'm not.' she said, treating it like the dumb comment that it was. 'What about you, do you have a date?' At his point I was a deer in the cross hairs and she wouldn't put the rifle down.
'Um, I was trying to ask you,' I replied sheepishly.
'Oh,' she said and paused. 'But we haven't actually talked that much.'
'What do you mean?'
'Well, we don't actually know each other that well.'
'Yeah, I was planning on getting to know you better on the date.'
'Aw, that's cute,' she said smiling as she went back to her wiping. I'm not sure how I feel about being called cute. I find it a bit patronising. I would have preferred she say "Wow, that's very manly", or "That's very sexy of you". The way she said it made it sound like she was going to pinch my cheeks and give me a lollypop. I left defeated and went to say goodbye to the quiz players that were still around.

One of those players was a girl named Rose. Her and a friend had been coming every week for the last month-and-a-half and they'd fallen in love with the night. They'd wrangled up more and more people to join them every week an I loved their enthusiasm and outgoing attitude. As I approached their table with my bag and laptop in tow, Rose said
'You're not going are you? Sit down, we have so much to talk about!'
Well that piqued my interest, so I dropped my gear and took up a seat. She started to tell me about all the big events that had happened to her during the week and we chatted for nearly an hour.I forgot all about what had happened with Holly.

As I left to go home, I thought about Holly again and I realized how easy it had been and how quickly I brushed it off. It made me so happy that I started laughing in the car. But I was still left with the problem of not having a date for Valentines Day. So then I thought of Rose and about her fun-loving attitude and how easy she was to talk to. I'd never thought of her in terms of dating, but maybe she could be the one. I arrived home and took out my phone, sending her this text message.
'Hey if you're free on Saturday, would you like to go on a date for Valentines Day?' Ten minutes later, she replied.
'Hey thanks, but I'm not really looking to date anyone right now...'
Oh for fuck's sake.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

We're Having Guests!

I started following Elizabeth Seckman around October last year. Now, just four months later, she's going to become my first ever guest blogger. I'm very excited! She's a big first guest to have, she's even got her own Wikipedia page.

But look at this place, it's a mess! It's not fit for anyone to see! Who put all those widgets in the corner? Someone tidy up this grammar@#! I want you all on your best Think Tank behaviour!*
*So basically don't scare the guest away.

Now, since we're having a little get-together, you're going to have to bring something. Don't worry, you can save the regifted chocolate for someone else. All I need you to bring is your ideas. See, Liz is an author. She's doing a round of visits to bloggers she usually only sees on Easter and Christmas so she can talk about a great new book she's written. It's called Defying Reason and it continues the good work begun in her 2012 novel Past Due. To show you how good a writer she is (as well as a great sport), she's agreed to come up with a short story exclusively for this blog. For no money. Based purely on suggestions that come from you.

So the plan is simple enough. Place your ideas in the comments below and Elizabeth will take them all and turn them into a short story. It could be a character, a theme, a word that you want mentioned... For example, here's my suggestion: Liz, you're a romance writer. I'd like a character who falls in love with someone they shouldn't ;)

Elizabeth will take your suggestions and turn them into something by next week. Until then - no misbehaving!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Fear of Failure Week 1: Little Victories and Big Goals

When you pay attention, it's really surprising how often you'll do or not do something for fear of looking stupid. I didn't thank someone who I thought had held open a door for me just in case he hadn't. I was talking to one person and didn't hear something she said, so instead of asking her to repeat it, I just chuckled and hoped that was the correct response. I have a job handing out food samples at grocery stores, which means I travel from store to store, stepping into the back room and setting up my samples. So many times, I was setting up my gear and the store staff were chatting around me. I had something I wanted to contribute, but I was scared that everyone would turn to me and think "Who the heck asked you?" It took me a while to work up the courage to join in a conversation, and of course when I did, the group were fine about it. I made a point to start up conversations with as many people as possible in the future.

There was another moment where I was filling in for a Quiz Meisters quiz at The Austral on Wednesday night. There was a girl there who looked exactly like Brooke from our gang and I wanted the rest of the group to see her. But let's be honest, if you didn't know me and I went up to you and said "Hey, can I take a picture of you to show my friends?", you'd probably think I'm pretty creepy. But this experiment is no place for paying attention to logic like that, so after the quiz, I packed up my gear and approached her. She was sitting with her back to me, talking to her friends. I tapped her on the shoulder.
'Hey, sorry to interrupt. You're going to think this is weird, but can I take a photo of you?'
'Uh, why?' she replied, perplexed.
'You look exactly like one of my friends and I've got some mates who'll be interested to see it.' The girl hesitated.
'Alright, but only if my friend can be in it,' she said, motioning to the handsome man sitting beside her. I thought that was really smart. Obviously she thought that by "mates", I meant a group of meathead boys who wanted to gawk at her. The fastest way to discourage that sort of behaviour (in most cases) is to bring another boy into the picture. If she was wrong and it was all innocent, no harm done.
'Absolutely,' I said, relieved. I took the picture, thanked her and sent it to my friends.
'Really though?' said Kelsey.
'Yeah I don't see the resemblance,' said Jerida.
"Ah, screw you guys," I thought.

These are some little victories I've been having this week, but there are much bigger fish to fry when it comes to my fear of failure. I sat down and thought about it, and there are four things that I really need to address if I''m to beat this thing. They are:
  1. Asking out girls. This is probably the biggest one. Literally since primary school, I've been under the impression that either a girl likes me or I like her, never both. That's been very frustrating and proven true on quite a few occasions. My fear of getting rejected by the girls I like I has stopped me from ever trying. Apparently when I was really young (0-4),I was a bit of a womanizer. My parents would take us to a restaurant and I'd run off to find girls to talk to. At the end of the night, my parents would find me surrounded by girls of all ages who thought I was the cutest thing ever. They used to make fun of me about it, which I hated immensely. So as I got older, I became unwilling to talk to them about it. All of these things have led some members of my family to jokingly wonder if I'm gay.
  2. Applying for jobs. So many times I've gone on the net to look for radio jobs and glanced over them all, thinking "I'm not qualified for any of these." I should be cold-calling radio stations and introducing myself as a way of getting my foot in the door. It's not just radio either, there are so many jobs I could have applied for, but I didn't because I pictured the person on the other end going "I don't have time for this kid," and throwing my resume away.
  3. Publish something. I'd love to write a book or a sitcom.. But I'm scared that I'll spend two years' worth of free time working on it and then try and send it to anyone that can get it made, and never hear anything back. It's like "Well... that's two years I'm never getting back."
  4. Take business opportunities. This is the least important one. I've had ideas that I've thought could work and make me a bit of money on the side while I fund my other adventures. But just like with writing a book, the amount of time I'd have to devote into making it work scares me. Plus I have no business sense and wouldn't know where to start.
These are the things I'll try to work on. The little victories I've had in this first week have been very encouraging, but the real work hasn't started. These four tests - four titans that have stood over me for years, blocking my path... That's where the real battle is.

Wish me luck. *draws sword and walks off into the sunset*

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Very Inspiring Blogger

Sherry Ellis has one of the best blogs going around. Her blog Mama Diaries contains little almost-daily stories about her kids and the innocent mischief they get up to. I was pretty blown away when she named me as an inspiration. It was my skydiving video that did it: made her want to get out there and do something death-defying herself. We here in the Think Tank* applaud that attitude and I can't wait to see the results.

*That's the first time I've tried to name this place. What do you think?

Anyway, being an inspiration and all, she decided to hand me an award. The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is normally given to those who save a fellow soldier's life on the battlefield. If the person awarding it doesn't know anyone who's been to war (and let's face it - we're writers, not fighters), then it's to be given to those you find inspiring. Sherry decided I'm one of those people.

If that wasn't good enough already, the award found its way back to me again a few days later. One of the other great blogs of the internet - Cherdo On the Flipside - had gotten it from Chrys Fey who had in turn gotten it from Sherry. She thought it was fitting to hand it to me a second time because you know what? I'm just that darn good.

The award comes with a few rules attached:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. (check!)
  2. Display the award logo. (check!)
  3. Mention three things that have inspired you over the last few weeks (can do)
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their blogs. (15?!?! I barely even know 15 people!!)
  5. Go to their blog and leave a comment telling them they've won. (15?!)
 Okay, little steps. Name three things that have inspired me.

The first (and most cliched) is the friends I've made so far on this blog. I've mentioned once or twice before that I used to have a different blog which fell by the wayside when life got hectic. I accidentally deleted it and some of the best parts of my history disappeared along with it. It was actually my friend Sarah who pushed me into starting up a new blog. She told me how much she missed the old one and how she enjoyed my humour and liked knowing what's going on in my life. It hadn't actually occurred to me up until that point that anyone really cared. A few months later, I had the idea to do the New Experience Challenge and a blog was born. Most of my friends from the old blog have disappeared from the internet, but I'm making some really, really great new friends who are inspiring me to be more proactive and creative with my writing. I owe the gaining popularity of it to them.

The second is my acting agents, Nick and Carina. They agreed to represent me late last year and I'd been doing acting workshops with them until about a month ago. Every time we'd run a scene, they'd talk about past experiences that can be used to draw from in order to get the right emotion or reaction. They've led the most incredible lives. They've had soaring highs and crushing lows and in the short time I've known them, I've already seen them go through both. One particular evening we had just finished working a scene and Nick got onto the topic of a very depressing stage in his life. It was such an engaging and emotional story that it made me start to think about my own life. The thought process went something like this:
  • They've gotten hurt a lot in the past, and it's made them the fantastic people they are today.
  • I've been through my fair share of suffering, but I haven't had many painful experiences for a couple of years.
  • That sounds good in theory, but it means I'm not growing. I'm just coasting through life in a state of purgatory, not moving forwards or backwards.
  • The biggest difference between Nick & Carina and myself is vulnerability. I don't really put myself out there if I think I'm going to fail. I'm scared of getting hurt. So I don't allow it to happen. They on the other hand open themselves up, wear their hearts on their sleeves.
  • I need to allow myself to be vulnerable again.
The next morning, I messaged some of my friends to tell them how much they mean to me. I've allowed myself to be more affected by sad things and even cry from time to time. I've tried saying I love you to my parents and sister, and although they find it just as awkward as me (well, except Mum), it's something that in our family, we constantly need reminding. I hope I can get better at this until my fear of pain, embarrassment and weakness completely subsides. And I have Nick and Carina to thank for setting me along the path.

The third thing is the improv classes I've been taking. By this stage in my life, I'm getting pretty good at making people laugh when I want to. But I'm also fascinated with stories and would love to be able to engage people with stories of my own. Improv is a great way to practice creating characters and conflicts. And because you have to do it on the spot, in the spur of the moment, it sharpens your brain for that kind of thing. I also love being so in-the-moment and the excitement of that sink-or-swim environment really gets the adrenaline going. I always come off-stage wishing it had gone longer.

Now... As for nominating other bloggers. 15 is way too many. One person nominates 15 people, all those people nominate another 15... That's already 241 bloggers covered. Keep that going and you'll either have all of Blogger covered in ten rounds, or you'll get A LOT of multiples like what's happened here.

So I'm going to nominate four people, two for each award. Hopefully they respect the power and responsibility that comes with it.

  1. Jimmy Fungus at JimmyFungus.com - Jimmy has created a great little niche in YouTube and shares his videos on his blog. He's got a good eye for pop-culture and current events.
  2. Pat Hatt at It's Rhyme Time - This guy's somehow managed to come up with a new poem every single day, all making fun of a different aspect of life. That's over 1400 posts. I didn't even know there were 1400 things to talk about.
  3. Jacquelineand... at Cheapskate Blethering - Hilarious and engaging, the two things I try to be with my blog and in life. To her it comes easily.
  4. Debra at She Who Seeks - Another person who's hilarious and engaging. She has a great ability to connect with people from all over the world, no matter what their culture.
Go forth! Inspire!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fear of Failure

I've been doing improv classes for a while. On Wednesday, I did my first ever public performance - a kind of mock-competition, one of those ones where the result doesn't really matter, it's the entertainment value that counts. I had recently realised I had a lot to learn when it came to improv - because I'd spent so much of my life in the comedy field and making people laugh, I assumed that was the aim when it came to improv. Not so. The aim is to create an engaging story arc, whether it's side-splittingly funny or tear-jerkingly honest. This meant there were some serious flaws in my skill that I had to work on, such as my habit of breaking the fourth wall. It was making me take a lot longer to react and affecting my game.

Add to that on this particular night, two girls I knew came in to watch. I was so worried about giving a bad performance in front of them that I became scared to take any risks. That whole night I barely said a word and let the others do all the talking. I was scared of saying the wrong thing, saying something that wasn't funny or pertinent, scared of stepping on someone else's line and scared of blocking others. I got eliminated fairly early, sat quietly on the sidelines for the rest of the show and then busied myself in my phone until the two girls walked out so that I wouldn't have to talk to them.

Why did that happen? What is it about the fear of looking stupid or getting things wrong that makes us hesitate to even attempt something? Thinking about it even more, I realised that for the longest time, I hadn't been applying to jobs I should apply to, hadn't pursued some of my more challenging dreams for fear that I'd waste all my time on it, hadn't asked out any girls that I thought I'd work well with... I have a fear of rejection and a fear of looking stupid and it's crippling. I went online that night to look up "fear of failure" and what I could do about it. Here's what the first website said:

Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all?


 Or has a fear of failure meant that subconsciously, you undermined your own efforts to avoid the possibility of a larger failure?

Um, well... No, I don't think that's the case...

Fear can be very immobilising. When we allow our fear to stop our progress in life, we're likely to miss some great opportunities along the way.

Well yes, I know that. We all do. But it's not like my life's at a standstill, there's just a few key areas where I need to improve.

Causes of a Fear of Failure:

Ah, here we go.

To understand what causes a fear of failure, we must first understand what it means...

Oh geez. Look at this, four paragraphs later and they're still in definition mode. Let's skip ahead a bit.

Signs of a Fear of Failure:


 Failure - A Matter of Perspective:


Overcoming your fear:

HERE we go. Now we get to the good stuff.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to overcome your fear of failure.
  • Analyze all potential outcomes - Many people fear failure because of fear of the unknown. Remove that fear by considering all the potential outcomes of your decision.
  • Learn to think more positively - Positive thinking is a powerful tool for building self confidence and neutralising self-sabotage.
  • Look at the wost-case scenario - In some cases, the worst case scenario may be genuinely disastrous and your fear my be perfectly rational. In other cases, it might not be so bad.
  • Have a contingency plan - Having a plan B may reduce the consequences of failing in the first place.
Many of us are afraid of failing, but we mustn't let that fear stop us from moving forward. By moving steadily and taking things one step at a time, you'll be able to get over your fear and move on with life.

That................. was the worst piece of shit article I've ever read. What kind of tips were they? Think positively? Have a backup plan? How on Earth does it help to say What you're scared of may be real... Or it may not be? Looking at more and more articles down the Google listings, they all said pretty much the same thing. Useless drivel from people who clearly didn't understand how to deal with fear.

I decided that if I'm going to get over this fear of failure, I'm going to have to work it out myself. I'm a tackle-things-head-on kind of guy. I'm going to have to spend a little while putting myself in situations where I'm very likely to fail. Maybe if I get exposure to looking stupid or being rejected, I'll start to see those moments as the learning opportunity they really are.

So that's it, I now have a new adventure. From today until February 1 next year (subject to change), I'm going to confront my fear of failure head-on. I decided to commence this project with very little thought for the consequences and no plan of action... so I've made a good start already ;)
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