Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

Dare to Be Stupid

In 1985, “Weird Al” Yankovic challenged me to dare to be stupid. He didn’t think I’d really go through with it, but boy did I show him!

So let’s get this kicked off with a little music. Just a disclaimer: I am a child of the 80s, and I’ve got a real weakness for 80s music. Al, go fire up the keyboard!

Dare to Be Stupid

Fear is one of the most powerful human emotions we have. It is what ensures our survival, through the responses in our lizard brains. Fear is a factor in our choices, both big and small. Fear dictates so many of the decisions we make, but we shouldn’t let it rule our lives.

I worry when I post things online. Is it funny? Is it silly? Will anyone get it? Is it good enough? Am I being too honest? Am I sharing enough? What will people think of me? Will it make me look stupid?

Maybe it doesn’t matter that much. Maybe I should worry that I’m not being “stupid” enough and taking the risks that could lead to real rewards. No guts, no glory, right?

Dare to Take a Risk

I wanted to share this video with everyone. This is Amanda Palmer, alt-rock icon, who made her start as a street performer, was the frontwoman for Dresden Dolls, and had the most successful Kickstarter project to date. She dares people to be willing to ask for what they need. What amazes me about her so much are the risks that she is willing to take.

Yeah, she’s pretty freakin’ awesome, but I don’t think I could strip and let people draw on me. I might have to toe the line there.

Dare to Keep Your Dreams Alive

I had a tough day today. I heard some tough news, and it changed the way I looked at a few things, life mostly. I don’t want to pass on to my next adventure without sharing the my stories. It keeps me up at night. I have these worlds and characters and stories in my head, and I want to share them before they disappear.

So if you want to know what scares me, dying before I get it all written down scares me.

Foot dragging and procrastination are specialties of mine. I’ve always been writing, as can be proven by the notebooks and Word files everywhere, but I didn’t want to call myself a writer. That would be taking a risk, putting my neck out there, and committing myself to something that’s just a little bit crazy. Normal people don’t write books.

I was afraid of taking that risk, but now I’m more afraid of what will happen if I don’t take a stab at this writing gig. I want to make this dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember come true. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I hope it will happen this year. Sorry it took me so long to figure it out, Al.

I’m gonna dare to be stupid. You should dare to keep all your dreams alive, too.

Come on, let’s go be stupid together!!

Inspired by a FB post from a friend. Thanks M!

16 comments on “Dare to Be Stupid

  1. greenembers
    March 14, 2013

    Challenge accepted! I shall go out and do stupid. I too have Word and Document files everywhere, most aren’t even a quarter done, lol. Sharing is hard sometimes.

    • tracycembor
      March 15, 2013

      Sharing is very hard, but it can also be very rewarding.

      I dare you to dust off one of those old stories and add 1000 words to it this weekend. I’d love to see what happens.

  2. stressingoutstudent
    March 14, 2013

    I just recently discovered Amanda Palmer and I think I’m kind of in love.

    Yes! Let’s be stupid!

    • tracycembor
      March 15, 2013

      She is easy to love, so confident yet so open to everyone.

      Telling people I’m going to be stupid this weekend, but only in the best way possible, has gotten me some odd looks today. I’m kinda pumped about it though.

      • stressingoutstudent
        March 15, 2013

        Haha, awesome. You’re gonna write and tell us about your wonderfully stupid escapades, right?

  3. ericjbaker
    March 15, 2013

    It’s funny how so many of us feel exactly the same way you do and have the same anxieties. Knowing that should put us at ease, but it doesn’t. I’m horrified and mortified by things I’ve said and written, despite that no one paid much attention, remembered it, or even read it in the first place.

    • tracycembor
      March 15, 2013

      Thank you, seriously. Knowing that we’re all in the same boat makes me feel a smidge better. Still, I spend more time than I should mortified at myself and my actions.

      And I bet more people read your work than you think they do. Some of your stories creeped me out, but I’m scared of my shadow chasing me up the stairs. I thought they were executed well.

      • ericjbaker
        March 15, 2013

        Thanks. I appreciate that!

  4. Sphere Me
    March 15, 2013

    Thank you for sharing. It’s only through sharing, sometimes, that we find things to treasure! (wow, didn’t mean to sound so prophetic – even if I do say so myself!)

    • tracycembor
      March 15, 2013

      Thanks! I feel like the episode of Girls where there’s a picture that says “Comfort Zone” surrounded by a box, then there’s a circle way outside it that says “Where the Magic Happens.” It’s rather uncomfortable, but I’m trying to reach where the magic is.

  5. Przemek Kucia
    March 15, 2013

    Uuu… Tracy, I almost feel rubbed in a wrong way ;) “Dare to be stupid” you say… The point you make is, as always, brilliant, and this controversial quote is great tool to draw attention, but boy (!) everyone just seem to understand it literally (I hope not).

    The most stupid thing to do is, of course, not taking calculated risks. Decision to stay in place of mediocrity is stupid. To not share value because of possibility of rejection is stupid. And yes, do whatever works for people you share idea with, but to call taking those smart decisions as “being stupid” is just… Well, something I can’t agree with ;)

    Take care :)

    • tracycembor
      March 15, 2013

      Maybe “Weird Al” Yankovic was just decades ahead of his time?

      I spend a lot of time being “smart,” which means I avoid risk and leads me straight to mediocrity.

      In the US, we tell our kids, “Go to school, get good grades, graduate from a good university, get a decent job. Don’t take any unecessary risks, and it will lead to success. It is the ‘smart’ thing to do.” That’s a load of crap. The only thing they learn is how to be a cog in the corporate machine.

      If doing the things above is “smart,” then I don’t want to be “smart” anymore. I shouldn’t have a blog with my real name on it. If I want another job, you bet the human resources people will be reading all through this. I can’t say that this blog isn’t mine. I’m the only Tracy Cembor in the US; there’s only three hundred Cembors here. The rest are still in Poland, and I doubt any of them are named Tracy either.

      What I’m trying to say is that being open and honest is 1. uncomfortable, 2. hard to do, and 3. not “smart.” But that’s okay. By writing my blog and my stories, I am doing things that for me seem risky and “stupid.”

      • Przemek Kucia
        March 16, 2013

        I’ve tried to find better word, I stumbled upon Polish “brawura” which has no great translation into English… “Recklessness” isn’t what I mean. Maybe “daring”/”challenging” would be better. But thats not the point.

        My point is – I do agree with you, what “they” say about being smart is absolutely bonkers when you think about it. I’ve too been told that safe is smart, but no one told me that it is safety built on house of cards.

        Let’s say that safe decisions give you 90% chance to end up in mediocre life and 10% to be successful and satisfied (I think it’s more or less accurate, there’s always a chance for happy coincidence) and “daring” decisions, based on taking calculated risks, give you 50/50 chance. Tell me now what is truly smart thing to do ;)

        And your blog, with name on it is, of course, positive from the perspective of HR. You create a personal brand as a writer and honest, kind, responsible and truly smart person with sound skills and potential to learn :) And yes, it is difficult and uncomfortable, it may be somewhat risky – agreed. But it’s definitely not stupid. With or without quotation marks over it :D Hence yeah, dare to be daring I would say, but again – it’s not very media friendly statement in terms of focusing attention ;)

        //And some trivia ;) I live in Poland and you’re the first Cembor I’ve ever… “Met”(?). It’s not like I’ve met everybody in Poland or we don’t have many last name “choices”, but it never came to me that it is a Polish last name ;)

        Take care

    • tracycembor
      March 18, 2013

      I like “dare to be daring.” It doesn’t have the negative connotation of “stupid”, but it also doesn’t have the shock value.

      Yeah, if you look on Linked In, half of the Cembors are in the US, the other half are in Poland… not that there are many of us on either side of the pond.

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This entry was posted on March 14, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .

Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

Writers of the Future Honorable Mention

About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
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