Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Results (Not) Guranteed

I like results. As long as there's a guaranteed or very likely result, and as long as it's a result I value, paying a high price in effort, money, time, or emotion doesn't bother me.

Case 1: I will pay for expensive products if I think they'll work, but there has to be a money back guarantee. If I don't get results, I want my money back.

Case 2: Two days after giving (all-natural, because it's the only way to ensure that there are no lingering side-effects to mom or baby) birth to my last baby, I rose at 5 am and went outside to tackle a landscaping project that my husband had given up on because he thought it was impossible. It was brutal, exhausting, miserable work that left me doubled over and clutching my back in pain, but I didn't care. Why? I knew I'd get results. (And I did. It was awesome.)

Case 3: Remember all those ads you used to see for getting gift cards by trying certain products? I actually made between 3 and 4 thousand dollars (that's profit, after paying for the products) on those things. I read the small print, tracked the cost of the products, and found the ones that would actually yield a profit. Then I wrote articles telling other people how to do the same thing and gave them my referral link. It worked (for all of us). Results.

Case 4: Graduate school. You go. You put in the time. It's hard, but if you're halfway competent, you'll get a degree. Results guaranteed.

Here's what I have no time for: Anything where the results are uncertain.

Most Important Case: Writing. My results-guaranteed orientation is precisely why I spent all of my twenties trying to not want to write. I thought it was a total waste of time. I still think it's probably a total waste of time. But the urge to write wouldn't go away. Won't go away. It appears that in this case, my guaranteed result is that I'll be restless and a little unfulfilled if I don't at least give writing a shot. (Which, by the way, I bitterly resent. If I could turn off the part of my brain that wants to write, I'd do it in two heartbeats.)

It's unfamiliar territory. I don't like doing things that don't yield results. I don't like giving up entertainment, sleep, and family time for something that probably won't pan out. I'm worried that in five years I'll still be restless and unfulfilled, but I'll also be bitter that I wasted so much time (and looked like a total idiot) chasing this delusion. But I don't know that will happen, and I do know I'll be unhappy if I don't try, so I'm giving it a shot.

At least in the end, no one will be able to say I didn't try. I guess that's one result guaranteed.


  1. That's the hard thing about writing. There's no guarantees about it.

  2. Yeah, this is one business where nothing is guaranteed, no matter how hard you work. That's too bad. But like you said, I don't like giving up, and in the end, should I ever give up, I want to say I gave it every thing I had, right down to the bitter end.

  3. I know there's always that possibility looming around over my shoulder somewhere, but I just can't think about it. I don't mean that I can't let myself think of it, or that I don't even want to let my mind go there; it's just that, like you said, the guarantee that I get for *not* trying is even worse. And I really can't imagine not writing.

    Great post.