I got this image in my inbox today and got a chuckle out of it as I do with most XKCD comics. I came back to it about about an hour later and thought about what I would write to my future self now. I did the opposite exercise back on my old blog. I'll have to dig through the archives to link to it.
There is something appealing in pointing an arrow into the future. When I was much younger, early teens I think, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to achieve before I graduated college. The list included things like, get published, start a company, work in video games, learn to give massages, meet my wife amoung others. The funny thing is that I completed most of those of them before graduation and had completed all of them before proposing to my wife.
After this I wrote a narrative of what I thought life would look like for my wife and in 15 years. We are coming up on year 15 and many of those milestones have come to pass. The pastor one was not even on my radar back then, but isn't that how God works.
So what would I share with Future Carlton? Much that I would share with Past and Present Carlton as well as my children.
Stop Being Afraid
There really isn't any reason for it and there isn't really any value to it. The pain of failure is nothing compared to the pain of missed oppurtunity.
Plan, Prepare and Execute
One of the best ways to defeat the monster of fear is to prepare now and then charge ahead. Course correct as needed. Before you know it you will be closer to that goal then you were when you started.
I'll be taking some time to think about Future Carlton and what I want to say to him. For you dear readers I leave you with a poem by Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils fame.
The Monster Named Fear
We all grown up with dreams of what we can be. In the playground shwing off our talents for all to see.
Anything's possible when you are laughing in school. For Instance: A ballet-dancing prodigy sounds prety cool.
How about a rockstar in a band? Or maybe a tennis pro with a killer backhand.
There's this one girls who makes you laugh till you cramp.
And another who wants to be World Wrestling Champ!
But the road to those dreams are filled with dangers. Obstacles in the way: Parents, Teachers and even some Strangers. Most mean well but some are just mean trolls shouting at you, they're downright obscene.
"*It's never gonna happen."
"You're so gonna fail."
"Why don't you just quit?"
"No! No! No!"
That's all they scream
"You can't do that..."
"It's an Impossible Dream"
But there's something worse than those doubters, you'll find killing more dreams than all of them combined.
It gets bigger and bigger crushing your soul unill it breaks free and goes out of control.
Your enemy speaks, its vice strong and clear. "Hi, pleased to meet you. My name is FEAR"
You smell a foul stench as it gets up realse close, scaly and slimy and disgutingly gross. But you're not bothered by all the mucus and goo, what's most disturbing is the thing sounds like you.
"I'm all of your fears and all of your stress. I'm your fear of the spotlight and fear of success.
"Fear of embarrassment and not enough training. I'm what scares you the most, I'm the fear of you failing!"
Some spend their whole lives running from fear, even when they have friends who support them and cheer. They get gobbles up and deveoured by the beast, their dreams turned to food for the monster to feast.
But don't worry too much, hope is not lost. Fear can be beaten if you are willing to pay the cost.
There are steps to take, steps that are essential. To make sure you don't live your life never reaching your potential.
You land the first blow when you decide to commit. Now it is time to mix hard work with a whole lot of grit.
Practice and practice the practice some more. Improve your craft even when it's a chore.
Get out of your comfort zone and you'll learn faster. You've got to be brave, don't let fear be your master. *. Those butterflies are normal you feel in your tummy. That's when you know fears there in the front row *sitting right next to mommy.
It takes time to get better, I know progress is slow. Just roll up your sleeve and keep giving it a go. And for those sitting at home, thinking it's too late. Fear can be beat no matter your birth date.
Practice and practice, then practice some more, after so many battles you'll be winning the war. Slowly but surely, you've faced fear head on. Now the beast is no more it's finally gone!
Oops, sorry. I lied, I must take that back. Fear never leaves, it's always waiting to attack. It's lurking up there inside of your head. Sometimes it comes back just when you thought it was dead.
But this time you're in charge. There's no need to fret, the fear is so small, it's no longer a threat.. Thanks to persistence and focus and much * follow through*, the monster has shrunk to the size of a shoe.
Fear's scary no more, not even a fright, 'cos you've put in the work night after night. Year after year and the end is in sight, now, at long last you're ready.
Time To Finish The Fight!
Get out there, dream and then execute my friends.