You can’t become something unless you begin something. And you’ll never be good at something unless you do it over and over and over again… even if it means constant failure.
We all have aspirations, hopes, dreams–whatever you want to call them. It could be starting a clothing line or writing a book… it could be anything. But we’re too often held back by the fear of rejection, the fear of creating something of inconsequence or producing something that’s just flat out shitty. This fear prevent us from even trying.
From the moment we enter the educational system we’re taught that being fully prepared is essential to success. So when it’s time to sit down and make something happen we often revert to what we’ve been trained to do: preparing ourselves for the task at hand. Unfortunately, some people spend their entire lives preparing without ever making any real attempt. It’s so much easier to focus on the little things that surround the act of getting started than it is to actually sit down and get started.
Fuck it. Just start.
When you task yourself to do something, a lot of the time the first question you ask yourself is, “How do I begin?” From there it’s really easy to spiral into a never-ending vortex of unknowns until all of a sudden you’ve created this plan of attack that focuses on solving everything but the original task at hand. What you need to do is forget about the unknowns and just dive right it. Start with what you know and the rest will follow.
Expect to fail, and get comfortable with it.
It’s hardly realistic to expect your first attempt at something to be good. As a matter of fact you should expect your first attempt at something to be really bad. We all want to be good at what we do but you can’t really be good at something unless you’re really bad at it first (generally speaking). When we think about the people we idolize we only ever see and hear about their achievements. Rest assured, however, they have all failed miserably somewhere along the lines. The difference between them and almost everyone else is that they learned from their mistakes and eventually became really good at “it,” or really good at something close to “it.”
Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Anyone who’s played sports understands the concept of repetition very well. You basically want to repeat an action so much that not only do you become good at it, you become good at it without having to even think about it. In another life I was a basketball player and somewhere along the way I was taught the rule of 10,000. But it wasn’t the same rule that Malcom Gladwell talks about. My version of the rule was more like… every basketball player has exactly 10,000 bad shots in them, once you got them all out, you’re left with nothing but good shots. I don’t really know about the number of 10,000, but the idea is very basic. If you’re bad at something you have to repeat it over and over again because it’s only a matter of time before you become really good at it.
Nonetheless, it does take an incredible amount of motivation and energy to stick with something, and the amount of passion and stamina each of us has as individuals varies from person to person. Yet staying motivated and maintaining a passion is a whole other conversation, which, by the way, is a subject I’ve been meaning to touch on.