Sadly, I was notified yesterday that my short short story, The Selfish Gene, did not win the short short story contest. Considering the only reason I wrote this story was to win the contest, this was not, on its face, glorious news. I’m not too sad about it, though, because I really like the story and it was fun to write. I was kind of counting on the three grand I was going to win as first prize though. Fortunately, I didn’t begin spending the money yet, so all in all, it’s a relatively minor setback. Which got me thinking about setbacks; specifically, how many times life has not gone as I expected and how much better things turned out as a result.
Many people have read the book “The Secret”. The philosophy behind this is that you attract what you think about it, and you can create your own reality by focusing on what you want to bring into your life. I have mixed feelings about this. I absolutely DO believe that your beliefs determine your reality. I know for a fact that we experience what we believe to be true for ourselves. For example, if you believe you cannot lose weight, you will not be successful long term in doing so. If you believe that you will never get a job you like, this is true. I have found that having a limitless possibilities mindset allows you to achieve and enjoy much more in life than otherwise.
That being said, I do not believe that the preceding belief system is ‘crap-insurance’. In other words, crap happens. Life will take a turn that you did not ‘wish’ or ‘attract’ into your life. The world being as it is, things are not always fair, or easy, or even how they were meant to be. I think if you buy too much into the ‘you attract what you are’ philosophy you can actually get a little trapped thinking that you are causing your demise. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes it isn’t and you just need to keep going.
The other issue I have with the Secret is the fact that I have at times in my life severely underestimated what I could have or was capable of. I am not always the best judge of what is right for me, so I don’t want to take total responsibility for determining my future.
At the end of the day, I subscribe to a philosophy that all things will work together for my good, EVENTUALLY, if I put my priorities in the right place AND do the work. There is a whole lot in that philosophy to unpack, but that’s for another day.
So sorry, Writer’s Digest, for failing to crown me short short story queen. I will keep trying and am confident my endeavors will lead somewhere worthy and I will even keep purchasing your material (how’s THAT for the high road?)