I’m a big believer that whatever pursuits you have or any level of success you would like to achieve, that mindset is the first and foremost deciding factor in your success or failure in whatever you set out to achieve and it can boil down to the most basic of everyday things.
My recent trip to Fiji brought about some interesting observations when compared to our own western culture, with what is deemed socially appropriate and how we see ourselves. One of the things I noticed I thought would serve well as advice for authors.
Any time I walked anywhere in Fiji and passed or made eye contact with a local Fijian, I was greeted with a beaming smile and ‘Bulla’, the Fijian word for ‘hello’. Something I realised which I found interesting, is they never waited for me to initiate a ‘Hello’ (Bulla) first.
I like to think I’m pretty good with this and say ‘G’day’ or ‘howdy’ to those I’m in close proximity with, but at the first opportunity the Fijians often beat me to the punch greeting me and it makes you feel a little special even if just for a moment. I was pleasantly surprised and actually started a game with myself to get the first ‘hello’ in before the next polite Fijian did!
Why was I pleasantly surprised?
It’s not something I’m used to seeing so prevalent/regularly in western countries and I began to ask myself; why don’t we greet those we meet in passing with a smile and hello? Why do most people in the shopping mall walk with their heads down? Why do we wait for others to take action before we do ourselves, with something as simple as hello?
Now, I understand there’s the few that do offer a smile, but I’m sure many of you have come across this, perhaps even asked yourself these very questions. It could be said its part of our survival instinct or what we’ve been socially programmed to believe is appropriate. Either way I think it comes down to the biggest of all human motivators, fear. Fear comes in many forms, but in this case it’s fear of confrontation or fear of being rejected, ‘The other person might not say hello back and I’ll feel inferior’.
By the way of life, Fijians never displayed any signs where they appeared to have low self-esteem or fear of confrontation and rejection. It’s inherent in their culture where self worth, vanity and judgement is not derived from their environment and what others may think. For them it’s about what’s on the inside, as they’re more spiritual people who have what you may consider ‘simpler’ lives, in regards to not being driven by technology, fame and material acquisition.
Let me relate this back as some advice for authors and writers.
I see many writers and authors working very hard with their stories and publishing endeavours, yet divulge in self sabotage. ‘I don’t know what they’ll say ’or ‘they can but I can’t’ or waiting for someone to speak up first so they don’t feel alone or that they could be seen as silly (even when everyone in room is quiet and has the same question).
Perhaps we should look inside and ask; why am I writing and wanting to find success as a published author? Do I believe in what I’m doing? Despite naysayers, do I have that burning hunger for it where I believe there’s people out there wanting to read my life story or go on my imaginative adventure?
We all could take a page out of the Fijian guide, by holding our heads higher and get out and network at events and on Twitter. If you make that first contact with someone you think you have a common interest with, chances are they might reciprocate and take your pro-activeness as a sign of confidence and professionalism. I know I respect those who show assertiveness and pro-actively engage. After all, if nothing comes of your attempt to connect there’s really no harm done. Your still the same person who believes they have something great to offer, so continue seeking out those who deserve to hear from you.
Don’t wait for the initiation from another party, take it upon yourself to be your own spokes person. Dammit, just give yourself permission because you know what, no one else is going to.
Get out of your own way, because success rewards the brave and the hungry and you can start right now by dropping a comment below, it’s your turn and I want to hear from you.