It was summer. My daughter was five years old and just learning to go underwater. All-day long she’d done tentative little dips, dunking her face, sliding across the surface of the water.
Then she dropped her goggles. She lunged for them, but it was too late. Down down down, they sank to the very bottom of the deep end of the pool.
Over and over, she dipped under to get them, but she never even came close to where they were. With each dip, she got more frustrated. She was barely getting a foot under the water, how could she ever hope to get all the way down there to her goggles? She’d never even been down that deep before.
Finally, she snapped. She broke the surface after her latest attempt and screamed, “I quit!” With a roar of pure rage, she slapped at the water. “I QUIT!”
Before I could say anything comforting, she was back underwater, swimming, I assumed, for the ladder so she could get out and sulk. But, to my surprise, instead, she dove down, her legs kicking hard and fast. And before I could understand what I was seeing, she was all the way down there, down at the very bottom, grabbing her goggles and flying back up. She emerged from the water arm first, goggles held up triumphantly. I cheered.
“When I said I quit,” she said matter-of-factly, “What I quit was failing. I quit quitting.”
And then her goggles were back on her face, and she was diving under again, this time deeper and more confident than ever before.
If you want to do this writing thing, you need to quit quitting. Take failure entirely off the table. Commit to seeing this through. Because if you leave yourself that out, you can never kick as hard and fast towards your dreams as when you’ve promised yourself there is no other option.