I Will Write: Why Confidence Makes All The Difference
NEW YORK, NEW YORK- Strolling down Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan, I drink in the beautiful, sunny afternoon and reflect what a nice break it is from the brutal cold snap we’ve been experiencing. I’m on my way to the ferry, and it’s a pleasant enough afternoon that I’ve decided to walk. Everyone’s had that feeling where you just need to keep moving; that getting on a subway or a bus to get you to where you want to be just won’t cut it. It’s the feeling you get when you just want to drive on an open road to nowhere in particular; to just roll the windows down, shut the music off and listen to the sound of the engine purring and the cold wind whipping indirectly on your face. Oftentimes the impulse to drive for no reason, or in this case walk with no immediate purpose, comes about when you just want to think. Sometimes it comes about when what you really want to do is think nothing at all, to just let your mind wander wherever it may. When there’s a sense of latent pressure weighing on your conscience it can be blissfully meditative to let your mind rest; to just calm the racing thoughts about whatever is going on in your life at that moment.
My mind has been on overdrive for a year now. A lot of people have looked at what I’ve spent my time doing and figured that I spent the last year on vacation and while my professional career as a lawyer might currently be on hold, my mind has not ceased whirring with the possibilities of what I could do with my life. I love the idea that I can still be anyone and anything, and I ideally want to find a niche for myself that allows me to have an open-minded approach to learning more about life and sharing what I’ve learned with others. A few months ago, I stepped back and realized how much I enjoyed writing this blog, regardless of how many of you actually read it, and that I want to keep writing and reporting on the different things that I do and see. I still have the “travel bug”, and want to spend the next year or so of my life doing and seeing different things. Yet it’s been a difficult thing to address when people ask me what I’m doing, especially now that I’m home in NYC, visiting friends and family. “In-between-things”, or “traveling” doesn’t really cut it in certain situations.
Cutting my way through Federal Plaza, I spot the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance as the setting sun casts a magical golden glow over it. I decide to head towards the East River to get a glimpse of one of my favorite views in the city, ignoring the fact that the wind will likely be whipping up the waterfront path in a bone-chilling frenzy. This is my old haunt. I used to work downtown, and I take note of all of the new lunchtime eateries and shops I could have spent my free hour dining and perusing; and one in particular catches my eye. A small corner art store with a sign advertising passersby to support local artists. I’m in no rush, so I stop inside to check out what looks like a modern-day Ralph Steadman’s work.
As soon as I walk through the door, I get chatting with Irrix, the owner of the gallery and artist who paints most of the pictures. He’s got some really good stuff, and is explaining to me the methods he uses for these paintings—ballpoint brush pens to start, layered with acrylic paint, then finally hot pressed at 355 degrees to give it a waxy sheen. Irrix doesn’t look much older than 40, but he has a seasoned salt and pepper beard and it surprises me when he casually mentions that he’s been painting for only three years. This seems an astoundingly short time to have so much inventory, his own art installation, and to have just come back from showing off his work at Art Basel. It turns out that Irrix used to work as a designer for Apple Corporate making millions of dollars, but at the end of the day found himself unfulfilled with what he did for a living. Considering himself an artist, he didn’t feel as if he was truly accomplishing his calling in life, and one day quit to open up his own shop and sell original art.
Irrix is someone I can relate to. After explaining that he’s a man after my own heart; that just over a year ago I worked down the street for a law firm, and left that path in search of something that would provide a wider range of life experiences, Irrix asked the obvious question, “What are you doing next?”
“Well”, I responded, “I’m trying to be a freelance writer.“
This wasn’t a good answer for Irrix. He asked me to clarify…“Are you trying to be a freelance writer, or are you a freelance writer? If you’re just trying to be a freelance writer, then you’re not even sure yourself that’s what you want to be. You haven’t convinced yourself that it’s what you want to pursue, and if you’re not confident in what it is that you want to do, you’re just wasting your time. And if you’re wasting your own time, then you’re certainly wasting my time.”
It took a minute for me to process all of this. To be honest, not many people have challenged me on my decisions, or made me really think about what it is that I’m doing with my life, especially not a complete stranger that I just met. Yet I feel a strange connection with Irrix; that he was once in my shoes, and that someone told him the same thing: be confident in yourself, and what you want to achieve.
“So”, Irrix asks me again, “what is it that you do nowadays?”
A little light switches on inside of me. It’s so simple…confidence. The key to success in life is confidence, and most of all—having confidence in yourself. Having confidence in yourself is especially important, because it allows others to have faith in you. This time, my answer was confident.
“I am a freelance writer.”
It takes only a few minutes for Irrix to finish a drawing that he started as soon as I expressed any hesitation about what it was I was doing…it might seem like an insignificant gesture, but to me it was a profoundly impactful moment: the realization that if I want to pursue a direction in life, I should be confident about it. Simple, yet so profound. Do I want to make something for myself as a writer, even if it’s just a way to professionalize my travel experiences? Yes. Well, if that’s the case, I better start identifying myself as one.
Leaving Irrix’s place with the drawing in my hand, I told him that I think the Universe brought me to his studio for a reason, and that I was grateful for the advice he imparted on me. Am grateful. Being confident in what you want to do is something that might seem trivial, but if you don’t exude confidence while interacting with others, then you aren’t yourself confident in what you want to do. Sometimes all that’s required is one person to question something you’ve said for you to question it yourself. In this case, it’s resulted in a profound change in my mindset. I will write.