Ever feel like you want to do something new, but a little voice in your head says “oh… but you can’t”. Maybe you think about it again, and another voice asks “What if you don’t finish?”. And then another voice pops up and says “they’ll think your dumb for not being good at that already…”
Maybe you want to build a website. Or learn to code. Or learn to dance. Or start a company. Or become a great cook. Whatever.
So instead you stop thinking about that new thing you could be doing because it feels bad. It’s like a tease, it excites you and you become vulnerable to the potential, and then those voices come in and cut you down, leaving you feeling silly and impotent. And the world is worse off for it. And you are worse off for it.
The key is that everyone starts somewhere, even the greats. We spend so much time analyzing what made the greats great, and stringing together the logical, brilliant path they took to their pinnacle. And we try to assemble that roadmap for ourselves so that we too can be great. But it doesn’t work that way. Creating a brilliantly logical plan is hard, and likely, a waste of effort. Lifetime paths are only logical in hindsight.
At each moment we are the precipice of chaos. We have no idea what will happen next. Our brains forecast and predict based on our past experiences and current observations, but anything can happen next. At any one point looking forward there are infinite possibilities, and critical unknowns. In this context it makes no sense to assume that someone else’s path will apply to us.
Try following these guidelines:
Don’t Finish What You Start
Have you ever discovered something weird and crazy and fallen in love it? There are way more “things” out there than we have experienced. The only way to discover them is to maximize our exposure to them. This does not mean master them, but touch them, check it out, check yourself, and if it’s not amazing, feel free to move on. It’s not like when you were a kid and you had to finish your piano lessons, or spend hours every week practicing your sport because you had to. Now it’s about maximizing exposure, and committing in measure with your relative interest. It’s ok, even great to move on, maybe come back to it later, maybe not. Don’t pre commit. Try it out, if you don’t get it, move on.
You will accumulate an eclectic group of passions, and find new communities that you didn’t know existed. And you’ll be committed to them because they speak to you, not because of your work ethic. This ethic will surely benefit anything you commit too, but it is so precious, you should place it wisely. Your authentic passion will shine through to others and attract like-minded people like magic.
Don’t Worry About Mistakes
Because you’re a n00b at whatever you’re trying, you don’t have the facilities to make good judgements. You’ll probably start somewhere else than the optimal beginning… and bump around until you establish some sort of working knowledge… and then you’ll start to understand what others are talking about… and then you’ll start leveling up … and then you’ll be on your way to mastery. Along the way, you, and everyone else who went down this path, is making tons of mistakes. This happens to everyone, is really just part of experiential learning. It’s part of what you’re trying to do, not something to avoid or be embarrassed about.
Try things, expand yourself, embrace the learnings, and enrich the world. C’mon! You can do it!