When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough
I have worked on many projects over my lifetime, and some of them, I admitted defeat. Meaning that no matter how hard I tried, I understood the project would never succeed because I lacked the ability to complete it. This list of failures includes failed business startups, patents, classes, and relationships. During these ventures, I asked for help, invested money, worked late into the night, lowered my morals, made sacrifices, got injured, and thought outside the box. On each one, I distinctly remember the day that I admitted defeat.
Did I learn anything? Of course. The biggest lesson is that painful failures provided the most life experience. Would I have done anything differently? Heck yeah! On nearly every one of my failures, I would have avoided that effort like the plague. Why? I never had the ability to succeed. Of course, I cannot go back in time to tell myself not to try something.
My first attempt to start a business was to build a professional audio mixing board for a recording studio. I put a crazy amount of time and money into making it happen. The problem was that the early ‘90s were an awful time to start a business. I also lacked professional connections, partners, and extensive financial backing. To compound matters, I now can admit that I did not have the technical, business, organizing, marketing, or personal skills to succeed. In retrospect, success was never possible.
I distinctly remember the day when I admitted defeat. I pitched my idea to an investor, and they refused to take any interest. After the meeting, I went to the beach (in my suit) and walked around for hours. It was a crushing blow that took a long time to jump back into the game. Side note: that new venture rapidly failed for a new reason: pick your business partners ultra-carefully. I learned this lesson again a few years later, but it cost me far more time and money.
I vividly recall bad report cards for classes I put every effort into passing. Four girlfriends dumped me, and the painful memories still exist. I filed five patents, and the patent office rejected each one. The ideas were not bad, but I lacked the skill to file them—so much wasted time.
Now, I am trying to be an author. I began with great hope to quickly succeed, but one day, I realized I would never be a great success like my favorite author, Tom Clancy. That day, I changed my goal to break even with my publishing, formatting, and editing costs. This goal will be challenging to fulfill.
Why does it have to be this way? Simply put, my best is not good enough. I hate admitting this, but it is true. In time, my writing abilities may be good enough to come out with a hit, but it is not guaranteed. Does this mean I am admitting defeat? Should I give up writing? Making that decision would undoubtedly free up some time. My answer is that I am not giving up, but I now understand writing will never be a profitable venture. Instead, it is a costly hobby but has a bright side. It is less expensive than playing golf:)
Yet, there is still potential for failure. I cannot face a wave of criticism. How could this occur? A popular YouTube personality could make my work the subject of a damaging video, or a popular blog could launch an awful rant. This very public reaction would squash my dreams.
Does this mean that I am a quitter? Certainly not. I do my best to focus on the positives and fully understand that every one of my defeats has added to my foundation to be a better person. Writing is fun. I have met many great people and had lots of positive feedback. Plus, I am learning a new skill and like putting my words out there. I will keep at it until they pry this keyboard from my cold, dead hands. Will there be more pain? Yup.

You’re the best -Bill
January 30, 2019 Updated January 06, 2024

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