Obsessive compulsive annoyingly getting old disorder

I am getting ready to go to Istanbul.

I’m speaking at the eCommerce Expo there on Friday (I have the 9:30 to 10:15 slot).

In case you’re in the area, it’s at the Halic Congress Center Pera Building on Friday (31st May).

I’m starting to get nervous.

There’s a scene in The Godfather when Michael stands outside the hospital and lights the cigarette of a nervous henchman. The henchman’s hands are shaking, but Michael’s are rock solid. This is when the young Corleone realises that he can handle the pressure of being a big time gangster.

That’s what I used to be like before I’d step on stage to speak, hands steady with confidence … but now, as I get older, and as I get better, I find myself getting as nervous as hell.

I also get antsy when I travel.

I’m OK once I get going, but I get anxious beforehand. It’s like a creeping feeling of trepidation that I’ve done something wrong and am going to get into big trouble. I don’t like being in big trouble. If I’d have been outside that hospital with Michael Corleone, my hands would have been shaking like a leaf – and not just because I’d have been standing next to Al Pacino.

Maybe it’s too many flights on terrible airlines – I won’t mention any names – or maybe it’s a sign of maturity and professionalism.

Getting nervous shows I care.

I’m not nervous about public speaking, I’m nervous that it won’t be good enough. I’m not nervous about my delivery so much as about the quality of the content, will it add value? Will people think it worthwhile?

I don’t know why I get nervous when I travel though – I used to be a carefree sort, able to pick up a bag and disappear at a moment’s notice. I can still do that, but will then spend most of the journey compulsively confirming that I did actually remember to pack my glasses and that my passport hasn’t magically leapt out of it’s zipped-up pocket, and oh my God, did I lock the door and did my locking the door start a chain reaction of minor mishaps that somehow led to a broom leaning against the gas tap on the cooker and …

I guess with age you realise how fallible you are, the more you know the more you realise you don’t know. This means you learn to be more doubtful about things you think you know.

This is a good thing, it shows an open-minded approach to learning and new knowledge.

That’s my excuse anyway.


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