“Never promise to do the possible. Anyone could do the possible. You should promise to do the impossible because sometimes the impossible was possible. And if you failed, well, it had been impossible.”
-Terry Pratchett, “Going Postal”
I always thought it would be great to have everyone face some kind of test they couldn’t possibly beat. It’s like getting a tiny scratch on a relatively new car – unfortunate, but once it happens, you can finally stop worrying about keeping everything perfect. Unfortunately, life doesn’t offer many situations in which success is not the #1 priority. It can be daunting to venture outside your comfort zone, but if you never do so, then you will never stretch your boundaries. Therefore, we need a place where it is okay to fail.
Failure, please note, is when things don’t work out as well as you aimed, or if major alterations are required. It does NOT mean giving up entirely, which is the only inexcusable fail.
And while we may not have a holodeck upon which to rescue a doomed Starfleet crew, we most certainly have conventions. Many con events are done by volunteers. People offer to host a panel or arrange a photoshoot, and generally, all goes well. Even if something goes wrong – like a computer program not working or a last-minute location change – people are receptive and accommodating. Everyone is at the con to have fun, and there exudes a community spirit due to everyone sharing their fandom. Hosting a panel or venturing out in cosplay is safe.
But what if you want to kick it up a notch? Let’s say you want to do three panels. And three cosplays. And four photoshoots. One by one, all these little ideas seem like fun things you’d like to do, but to look at them cumulatively would set off warning bells in any sane person’s head.
“These two events are back to back,” says your sense of reason. “And THREE cosplays? The con is twenty days away, and you don’t know how to sew.”
Let the faint of heart turn back. And let’s keep going. Volunteer for those extra panels. Overload yourself, just a little. Turn the volume up to eleven. Once you are committed, you can’t back down, and so if you can’t do an event perfectly, you still have to give it your best. After all, success isn’t about achieving perfection under ideal circumstances. It’s about taking whatever you have and turning it into something kick-ass. Make crazy promises and stick to them.
The worst thing that can happen is you make a fool of yourself in front of a supportive crowd. The best thing that can happen is that you pull off a boatload of amazing events. Either way, you have tested the waters and gotten over your fears.