Last week, my daughter went to a writing conference. She loves writing and wants to be a New York Times best selling author, so she loves learning the trade from professionals. This particular conference, besides offering specialized writing classes, also held a first chapter writing contest.
Katie worked really hard on her chapter. And let me tell you, it is fantastic. (I know, I'm her mom...but really, it is very well done.) Anyway, out of the 600 teenagers attending, she ended up winning second place in the Jr. High division. Yay! She won a trophy, $50 and and most importantly, an individualized critique of her work.
But here's the kicker: when she was adding this to her writing portfolio, she asked the conference managers how many kids had entered. Can you guess how many? Remember, over 600 kids were there.
Only 100 kids entered. When the jr. high and high school entries were separated, there were only 55 entries in Katie's division. It's still quite an accomplishment, but 500 kids didn't even try! That is a staggering number.
I don't know if the kids didn't have time, if they lacked confidence, were scared, or if they thought there was no way that they could win. But in the end, the result was the same. They missed the chance to push themselves, missed the chance to learn about their writing from a published author, and they will never know what could have happened.
Sometimes, the odds seem overwhelming. 1 out of 600 seems overwhelming to me. 1 out of 55 seems much more manageable. But here's the thing--sometimes we don't know the true odds. We often hear how competitive the world is. And maybe it is. But the odds of succeeding dramatically increase just by trying.
Community Question: What have you attempted that was incredibly scary for you, that you ended up succeeding at?
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