Have you wondered why some people seem to be good at everything while some are only good at a few? If you fall into the first bucket then you’ve most definitely figured out the learning approach of failing fast. For those that have never heard of this term or have heard of it but are unfamiliar with why it works, read on… I truly believe it will change your life like it has changed mine.
For the skill you want to acquire or improve on, break it down into manageable pieces and tackle it by simply trying*. Improve (not necessarily correct) on any mistakes you run into.
*You don’t even need to break it down to start, but it does make gains a bit faster if you incorporate a bit of planning.
Why this works
- To do is better than doing nothing. Even failing is learning what not to do, next time.
- Small improvements are like a retirement fund; your gains will compound as long as you build. The only requirement is not giving up on yourself.
- Spending 30minutes a day on self-improvement is literally equivalent to but better than spending a month trying to learn a skill, full time.
The challenge is purely in your head. Children learn fast because they are shameless about failing. As you grow older, the optics of failure hover above you. You become less adventurous about even attempting new things or improve on skills that you’re already good at because you’re afraid that people who look up to you might find out you aren’t as good as they thought you were.
Be in the comfort of your own bubble, and learn something new and irrelevant (try origami?). Fail gloriously and notice that no one cares. Post it on FB and notice that no one cares. Practice having thick skin!
People talking shit about you in one thing, but this isn’t even that! You have to learn to accept that smart people are too busy worrying about themselves than to judge your shortcomings. People who care about you will see your attempts as a sign of strength and will be happy for you. We ALL have something about ourselves that we wish to improve on, and we are all at different stages in that journey. There’s always smart and smarter, rich and richer. It’s never too late!
Also, The ones that look at your self-improvement as a sign of weakness are stupid people that don’t belong in your life.
In conclusion… get out there and DO!
The idea is simple and if you think about it, this is how grade-school worked all your life. You didn’t enjoy reading Harry Potter until you spent a few years learning how to read letters, words, and sentences, right? Can you even imagine accomplishing 10 thousand pages of anything when you were learning Dr. Seuss?!? The point is that there is no silver bullet, but the efforts are worth it, and you do NOT need to be an expert to reap the benefits of your hard work. Case and point, English majors will have a much harder time finding a job than a proficient English speaker who decided to pair his functional speaking skills with a hard-science degree.
A last and very important note that many don’t talk about is that progress involves failing and unlearning. Failing-fast sometimes involves unlearning a few steps that masqueraded as progress. Your excitement of progress might have lead to tunnel vision. Learn to take a step back and look at the big picture.
When there’s a will, there’s a way… To achieve everything you are willing to put in!