Keep Shooting

Shooters shoot.

It’s an old adage you hear a lot when watching basketball games (which is something I try and do as often as I can). There will inevitably be that one streaky shooter who’s just having the worst night of his life, who just can’t get anything to fall. He just keeps chucking it up there, though, time after time, with the same unfortunate result more often than not. After about the 17th missed shot or so, you just want to cover your eyes when they throw the next one up.

Invariably, the television or radio announcer will utter the words that began this blog: Shooters shoot. If you’re a shooter, and that’s what you’re known for, and that’s where you can contribute the most to your team, then you keep on shooting because – sooner or later – something is bound to fall.

Well, in the same vein, writers write. And that, I guess, is why I’m here.

If you’re a writer, though, and you write, what exactly are you supposed to write about? This is where I want to start flinging up shots, because I’m not totally clear on the answer to that question. What I can say with some measure of certainty, though, is that the reason I haven’t started a blog until now is because I was relatively sure no one would want to read it. And, ironically, that crystal clear piece of uncertainty is how I stumbled upon a starting point for this whole blogging experience.

You see, I am probably one of the more negative, pessimistic people you will ever meet. But I don’t want to be. I’m trying really hard not to be. You know, Debbie Downer is really funny until you have to hang out with her for a while. Then she begins to lose some of her charm. I couldn’t figure out why I kept clearing rooms and having all my calls go straight to my friends’ voice mails. And then I realized, “Dude (because I call myself “dude” whenever I realize something of particular importance), it’s because you’re like Eeyore in the middle of a birthday party.”

In defense of the pessimist, though, we often bring things to the table that others simply can’t – or won’t – see. I’ve spent many a day following hard-charging optimists onto battlefields where it was clear we weren’t going to win. Oftentimes, I was chided for my negativity going into the fray, ignored when things started to go south, and blamed for the failure afterward because I didn’t think positively enough going into the effort. This, obviously, does not instill the pessimist with a great deal of confidence or self-worth. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, though, you stick with your guns. If you’re like me, you flutter between a negative attitude and people-pleasing.

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to ask you to go on a little journey with me here. I’m not sure how long it will last or whether you (or I, for that matter) will even want to complete it. Can a pessimist temper his natural tendencies enough to become a positive contributor, relatable human being, and generally productive member of society? Why don’t we try and find out.

Keep shooting, kids. Keep shooting…

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