As Rebecca Rush says, “Winning ugly is still winning.” Learning is a clumsy, awkward process and if you’re trying to look cool as you try to build your skill set, you’re never going to make it. All of that posturing is just going to hold you back.
The people that really get somewhere, the people that are able to build extraordinary things, they’re the ones that aren’t afraid to fail. They’re the ones that aren’t afraid to fail publicly. They’re never worried about what other people think. In fact, maybe they are worried about what other people think. In fact, I’m going to guarantee it. I worry about what other people think. I know you worry about what other people think.
But here is the truth: People that go on to win, the people that go on to change and become capable of the extraordinary, they’re the ones that didn’t worry whether other people thought, in the short term, that they looked stupid.
You’re going to look stupid. You’re going to embarrass yourself. Accept that as a reality. But if you can fight through that, even though you feel it, if you can refuse to let it control your actions, then you’ll still go down that path of gaining mastery. And in the gaining of mastery, you will have the last laugh.
What I always remind myself is to never judge myself through the lens of a moment. So, I’m falling on my face, I’m covered in blood and mud, and the whole crowd is laughing at me. What I know is, on a long enough timeline, I will win. On a long enough timeline, the last laugh will be mine because what I’m focused on is change. What I’m focused on is adaptation. What I’m focused on is growth. I’m focused on acquiring new skills, on actually getting better at something. And the most information-rich data stream that you can possibly encounter is failure. It is that embarrassment. It’s that sting. It’s that pain of being something that is less than what you know you could be.
But when you know that that’s the process, it’s so predictable. You know you’re going to go through it. You know you’re going to try something. You’re going to be clumsy. You’re going to be awkward. You’re going to fall. You’re going to embarrass yourself. It’s going to be difficult. You’re going to have to learn and try it again. And each time, it’s going to be the stumbling, fumbling, mumbling process until you’re able to acquire the skills that literally make the changes in your brain, to your physiology that you need to make in order to be able to do that thing.
But if you’re not worried about how you look and you just know the predictability of this path, it’s too obvious to get tripped up in the beginning, knowing that the beginning is going to suck, knowing that the beginning is going to make you feel bad about yourself. And let the clarity, the predictability of that see you through to the part of the phase where you feel powerful because you can do something that you weren’t capable of before.
Let that sink in. As a human, we can literally teach ourselves to do something that we were not capable of before. Recognising that skills have utility and that they are worth going through that pain, that awkwardness, the judgement, the feeling stupid and bad about yourself. It’s worth going through that to get so good they can’t ignore you.
So, get that good.