How To Be Good At Anything
Remember the first time you tried That Thing? How ridiculous you felt as you scanned the room, the arena, outside, and realized that everyone was holding in their laughter at your expense? How you searched casually, no, desperately, for an encouraging smile and were greeted by only looks of pity?
How you concealed your embarrassment as best you could, shrugged it off, and thought to yourself: "Well, I'm never trying that again!"
What if I dropped a little truth bomb on you? What if I told you that everyone usually sucks the first time they try something? In hindsight, it seems obvious, but that fact is difficult to remember when you're the newbie. The thing we forget to do is, we forget to actually allow ourselves to suck for a little bit. To make mistakes, to look ridiculous, to get knocked down a couple pegs. I have an interesting theory that I've developed over my miniscule 16 years on this earth, and with time and experience (16 years of experience, but experience nonetheless), I'm completely convinced that it's true. My theory is that anyone and everyone can become great at literally anything with the following things: 1) A great mentor that understands how you learn, 2) Time, and 3) Persistence. Let me explain.
Firstly, if you want to become great at anything, a great mentor is a must. Spending time learning from someone who has been where you wish to be is not only incredibly educational, but there's something about being in the presence of someone who's DONE IT that fills you with the kind of motivation that you can't get from quotes on the internet, or a hasty pep talk. You can observe their attitude, their confidence, the way they go about their day, absorbing the little details that you can't see from the outside looking in. This kind of experience transforms you from the inside out, and it will shoot you toward where you want to be faster than you can ever imagine. I love spending time with people who are better than me. I love hearing their stories: how they overcame their struggles, doubts that others had about them, why they starting doing what they currently do. I love watching how they interact with people, and I think it's beyond cool to see how some can alter the way they teach, so that it makes sense to everyone listening.
Mike and Amanda Marriott at Marriott Performance Horses are two of the most wonderful and influential people I've ever met. They work tirelessly to help everyone who wants to succeed and is willing to put in the work, and have so much passion for what they do. I am forever grateful for the years I got to spend learning from both of them!
However, there are still two main things that are crucial to the success of my theory, your "keys to success," if you will, and those are TIME and PERSISTENCE. It doesn't matter who you surround yourself with if you're distracted 24/7 by things that pull you away from your goals, or can barely muster the motivation to wake up before noon.
You've probably heard that Rome wasn't built in a day. You already know what that means, so apply it to your own life. Let yourself take the time you need to lay the foundation for your success. Are you aiming to be 1% better every day? If so, you're going too fast. That would mean that, in a year, you would be 365% better at something, and that's, unfortunately, a fairly unrealistic thing to expect yourself to be- instead of experiencing fast success, you're more likely to experience immense pressure, discouragement, and eventual burnout living this way. Aim to improve by just 0.25% each day. Have a small, focused goal to achieve during the day when you wake up every morning. Set aside time every day to work toward The Dream, or The Thing. (Oh, and don't say you "don't have it." Time is a relative concept that we have created, and we tend to create it to waste it. The average American watches about 4 hours of TV each day... that's 1,460 hours in a year... equal to 2 months. What would you do with an extra 2 MONTHS? Pretty insane when you think about it.)
Now, I'm going to change the topic for a second, because I want you to think about Thomas Edison. It took him 1,000 attempts before he was able to successfully invent a working lightbulb. Or maybe Walt Disney, who was fired from a newspaper for "lacking imagination" and "having no good ideas." Is it really a coincidence that some of the most respected and recognized people in history also happened to have a long track record of failures and misfortunes? No matter where your heart lies, the road to achievement won't be a cake walk. You're going to lose a lot more than you'll ever win, and fail a lot more than you'll ever succeed. Let yourself feel the disappointment, the frustration, the hurt, and keep going.
So, what's your goal? What's your purpose? What do you find yourself daydreaming about before you're jolted back to an unsatisfactory reality? Why do you want to achieve The Thing? Maybe you're vengeful, and somebody once told you that you couldn't. Maybe you're inspired, and somebody once told you that you could.
I wrote this to tell you that you will.
Get after it. Your Rome is waiting.