Yesterday, I had the joy of going to the wedding of a dear friend who is like an older brother to me. Throughout the years, he has believed in me and The Smile Project even when I was doubting everything. The ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced, and every aspect of the wedding was so uniquely true to my friend and his wife as a couple.
On the drive back from the wedding, I was thinking about a major Smile Project moment nearly two and a half years ago involving my newly married friend. It was near the end of Winter 2016. I was living in New York City and had been throwing more time than ever into a Smile Project book. I was certain that I was going to follow through this time. I had more than a dream. I had an outline and I had chapters and I was writing and editing relentlessly each night.
Then, one night, my computer crashed and the file was deleted. Not totally deleted – but the most recent flash drive copy I had was from months ago, meaning the most time and effort I had put into it, the current additions and real work, was gone.
I was on the phone with another friend when I realized what had happened and I remember just stammering “oh no… I have to go.” At the risk of sounding dramatic, that moment destroyed me. While I could (and should) have immediately started typing to try to salvage recent information and edits, all I could do was stare at a blank screen and drag myself to bed.
This wasn’t just a bad use of professional technology for The Smile Project – this felt like a personal blow. I had put so much time and heart into that and now the past three months of work was gone. I was utterly defeated to the point that I wanted nothing to do with The Smile Project or Happiness or anything. I was checked out. I was over it.
I was lamenting all of this to my friend who finally said, “When I write your biography, am I going to talk about how you lost three months of work and it sucked, but it hardly slowly you down; or about how you almost did this really cool thing once when you were young?”
That shook me right out of my mopey attitude. I jotted it down in the back of my Happiness is notebook, cleared my head, and started again.
No matter what roadblock you are facing right now, think about how much worse it’ll feel if you stop or if you quit. You don’t want to be the person who “almost did some really cool thing once.” And you don’t have to be.
Shake the dust. Get a good night’s sleep. Start fresh in the morning.