Jul 07

Never Do Anything Out of Desperation

A service that pays for editing had me try out for a contract job using a segment of a real-life manuscript. And do this for free. Ignoring my own advice (NEVER ignore your own advice!) I did it, and mailed it back, but received no acknowledgement, reply or thanks. And they got about 4 hours of my work for free. This refreshed my memory of a lesson I had learned before, and forgotten:

Act out of desperation and you will be treated like a bar rag.

"Desperate" and "despair" have the same root, "without hope." Thus desperation is a state of mind. I'm not saying "trouble is a state of mind." There is such a thing as real trouble: illness, no money, tragedies, threats.

But how many of us have had even 10 weeks of full-time training in how to handle trouble -- the one thing we know we will have? If you're like me and not very good at it, you might, "unencumbered by the thought process," fall straight into desperation, where you are vulnerable to exploitation, like the poor soul who calls a $3.99/minute psychic hotline to ask if he'll win the lottery.

We've all had our hands or minds wrung by desperate people. It is natural to flinch from them. And it is somehow natural, if a desperate person hangs around a lot, to want to injure them further, if only to make them go away. To take what they offer (anything! everything!) and escort them out. To shut the door in their faces. Or not answer the door.