You Will Suck at Everything You Try
You will suck at everything you do for the first time.
It doesn't matter how much practice you've had.
It doesn't matter how much you've studied for it.
It doesn't matter how much you've prepared for it.
It doesn't matter how many angles you've covered.
It doesn't matter how many books you've read about it.
You are going to suck the first time you do anything.
That's the bad news. Let's get it out of the way first because accepting this makes your journey infinitely easier.
See, the way we've been conditioned in America (and in many parts of the world) with our education system is to believe that you either get it perfect on the first attempt or you FAIL. Sure, you could get a C or a B, but that's just "average" and "average" isn't going to get you very far in our society.
So you're taught to see the world and process your efforts in a binary: perfection or failure. Either you nail what you set out to do on the first attempt or you have failed. And because failure is such a HUGE negative idea in Western culture, we are programmed to try and avoid it all costs. This creates a lot of frustration in trying new things because we SUCK at new things. Yet somehow, our minds believe we're capable of studying enough or preparing enough to be immediately excellent at what we set out to accomplish.
This is why it's getting more and more difficult to get a job fresh out of college. You see, growing up, we were all told to just get good grades so we could get into a good college so we could get a good job. This whole system of studying, preparing, and practicing was supposed to payoff in a fresh occupation as soon as we stepped out of school.
But in this economy, our younger generation is quickly learning this mentality is absolutely BROKEN. Employers don't care about your academic achievements. They want to know what experience you have. And guess what goes hand in hand with experience?
The well-insulated bubble of classwork and education conditions us to avoid failure. It has us believing that as long as we do what we're told and study enough, we're going to be a valuable member of society. Yet this is absolutely not the case. When you fail, you learn something each and every time. That real, practical knowledge is far more valuable than "book knowledge." Why? Because it's calibrated for reality.
Every time you fail at something, you are forced to go back to the drawing board, make adjustments, and try again. The adjustments are what move you forward and allow you to overcome obstacles. Even with the best gameplan in the world, you are going to need to make tweaks on the fly. This is where experience comes in handy.
Just ask Mike Tyson. One of his best quotes is this: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
So here's my advice: instead of trying to avoid failure like it's an angry grizzly bear, welcome it into your life. Stop trying to analyze every possible angle before you take action and instead just dive in unafraid. Embrace your failure like a hug from Grandma. Expect it to show up frequently. Expect to suck at whatever you begin. But most importantly, expect to learn from your mistakes and steadily climb toward mastery.
View any new skill or goal in your life as an opportunity for longterm growth. You want to see far into the future so that you're not discouraged when things don't immediately go your way. If you simply expect to make several mistakes when you begin something for the first time, all of the pressure vanishes. Instead of getting discouraged and wanting to quit, you'll want to put in MORE TIME and EFFORT because you can see yourself steadily progressing over time.
Here's what I'm getting at:
If you aspire to be a screenwriter, start by writing your first three screenplays. They are all going to be lousy and you will get nowhere with them. But guess what? Your fourth and fifth and sixth and seventh will all be significantly better. Your experience will help you write on a higher level.
If you want to be the next youtube sensation, start making videos. Your first thirty are all going to be awkward and stiff and more than likely few people will watch them. But guess what? Your fortieth and fiftieth and sixtieth videos will be much better. Your experience will help you get more comfortable in front of the camera and be seen by more people.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, start making some businesses. Your first two or three will probably bomb and you might even lose some money. But guess what? Your fourth and fifth and sixth will all make profit. Your experience and lessons learned from your failed businesses will carry over into your new businesses and allow you really kill it in your field.
If you want to do anything you haven't done before, put the books down, and try doing it over and over again. Stop caring about the short-term results and focus only on your progression. Fail, screw up, and mess up as many times as you can so you can learn from each of your trials.
Look, I know these examples are very broad and generalized. I'm not trying to predict the future or what "most people" go through. There are plenty of examples of people who have been fortunate enough to hit something out of the park at their first at bat (and loads of athletically gifted super-genetic freaks who are naturally great at sports the moment they step onto the field). All I am trying to do is convince you to have longterm patience with yourself.
Allow yourself the freedom to suck. Let mistakes be made. By all means, learn from them and do not repeat them. But don't punish yourself for screwing up and don't get discouraged when progress is poor. Factor in all of this into the equation. Take it as a given.
Keep sucking at whatever you're doing - like a child learning to walk and falling over and over again - and you will eventually not suck...which will lead to you becoming excellent in whatever you do.
About Byron Van Pelt
Byron Van Pelt is a Certified Life Coach, entrepreneur, and published author of Unshakable Swagger: The Man's Guide to Being Confident Any Time, Any Place...Period. He is now happily married with his wife, Bethany, and lives in Jacksonville, Florida. With over eight years of dedication to the world of high-end personal development, he utilizes an arsenal of skills to accelerate his clients' breakthroughs in business, dating, health, and fulfillment. Byron specializes in teaching men how to explode their level of confidence in everything they do and ensure it resonates in even the most challenging circumstances.