Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

10 Things Everyone Thinks They Can Do

I am endlessly fascinated by the average person's belief in his or her own abilities. Most of us are filled with doubt about who we are and why we are here. Most of us, in fact, question our success at the very responsibilities we carry out everyday - parenting, career, and relationships.

But that doesn't stop us from being 100% sure we can accomplish great things, given the opportunity. Despite little experience or inherent talent, we bravely assert our competency. The telling example is when you're watching a profile of someone on television, or skimming the classifieds, and you say, "I could do that if I wanted."

And the person sitting next to you says, "No, really, you couldn't."

Top 10 Things Everyone Thinks They Can Do

10. Write song lyrics

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories

How hard can it be?

9. Design a website

Every person who works on the web has received detailed design instruction from someone without a great deal of web experience. Usually the phrase Comic Sans is involved.

8. Write a children's book

The fact that celebrities manage to do this on a regular basis causes much of the confusion.

7. Write movie reviews

We all enjoy movies. We all enjoy talking about movies afterword. How difficult can it be to write your opinion down on a piece of paper?

6. Be a comedian

I think deep down, we all think we're funny. And I think most of us believe that if we were able to spend our entire day working at it, we could be really funny.

Some of us would never want to be onstage, though. We just imagine being a writer for SNL or a late-night talk show instead.

5. Design a church service

Everyone? Maybe not, but everyone who has ever been to church has left thinking, "I would've used a better opening story. I didn't like that song. The drama was too long. Why does it have to be so cold?"

4. Work in sports

Mostly a guy thing, but in addition to the ones who were just an injury or lucky break away from stardom, there are those who think they would make a terrific broadcaster, coach, or sportswriter.

3. Write Top 10 lists

Want proof? Look here, here, and here.

2. Write a book

Fiction or non-fiction, I think most people think they have at least one book in them, just waiting for the right opportunity. And since very few of us know anyone who has actually written a book, the only examples we have to work with are found on television or in the movies. I must say, it looks like writing is a wonderful way to live.

1. Name anything

It can be a child, book, website, product, or band, but I've never met someone who would pass up a chance to name something. And once you offer your opinion, any other choice is clearly a mistake. I still think I had a better name for my sister's own child!

Some of these things aren't very hard to do, they're just hard to do well. Not only am I guilty of just about all of these conceits, I actually admire the seemingly ingrained American confidence that anything is possible.

But that doesn't stop it from being funny. Really, really funny.

Man, I have got to send this one to Letterman.