This post is about positive affirmations, or in other words, those things that Tumblr people post to remind themselves that they’re pretty decent human beings after all. I don’t necessarily feel like I need that. I’m not going to sit here telling myself I’m pretty and funny and that people like me. I am however, going to talk about a pattern I’ve noticed with myself recently, and perhaps it’s a pattern that you’ve noticed about yourself too.

I give up WAY too easily. I’ve always had a certain degree of self-awareness, a rough understanding of my strengths and limitations, most specifically my limitations. Last year I had a mock job interview as part of my teaching course, where the other trainees got to watch me be grilled by a deputy head. The question I got stuck on was “what would you identify as your biggest weakness?” That was the only question I had to pass on. When we came back to it later on, it was pointed out to me that that came across as a little big headed, but the truth was that simply, I had far too many to pick from, and I knew I had to pick one that didn’t automatically make me look like a crazy person.

So I’m aware of what I can’t do, and I’m fairly aware of what I can do, although sometimes, as those closest to me will attest, I need the occasional confidence boost. But this self-awareness, which I’ve always seen as a gift, something that helps me avoid outright humiliation, can also lead me to stay firmly in my comfort zone. Take for example, P.E class back in school. I am a self-confessed fat guy, who enjoys my feet staying firmly planted on the ground. During a high jump class, I “knew” I wasn’t going to make it, so instead I took a huge run up, stopped just short, and did the limbo. Got a decent laugh, but basically I achieved nothing. I could already prat around with the best of them, I didn’t need to re-establish that.

Fast forward to 2012, and I’m now in Florida working for Disney. I feel so far out of my league it’s unbelievable. I’ve never had a “real” job, I’ve never properly handled cash (despite what I said in my interview, oops), I’m serving up to 1000 people per shift and I just feel like I’m drowning. I’m talking to someone who’s been doing the job for years, and she tells me “come see me in two weeks, you’ll be saying something completely different.” The next two weeks were tough, but, gradually, less so. I feel if it was something I was doing on a more voluntary I’d probably have thrown the towel in. But, there I am. Two weeks later and I feel like a pro, so why can’t I apply that to the rest of my life?

A couple of weeks ago I started a stand up comedy course. Stand up is something I want to get into, and have wanted to get into for a little while. But once again I just lacked the follow through in case I wasn’t good. I signed up for the course just because it cost money, and I felt that if I put money into it, I’d be more likely to actually stick it out (he says, as £10 a month leaves his bank account for a gym membership that has gone largely untouched in recent months.)

So I guess the question is, if I’m aware I give up on a lot very easily, what can I do to stop it?

Published by Phil Green