The attitudes you have about the smallest things can really illuminate how you behave in the rest of your life. The other day, my friend and I were talking about a fairly non-essential skill, when she said to me, “I’ve tried, but I just suck at it. Really, if I can’t do it perfectly, I’m not interested. I won’t do it.”
This is a tempting attitude to have. When you try something and you suck at it, it challenges your ego. You feel frustrated, and if you allow your ego too much rope, you can start to feel “bad”. Flawed. Useless. Dumb. It’s tempting to just stick to what you know, keep feeling good about yourself, and continue to dominate in your field or specialty.
When you do this, you coddle your ego, avoid feeling “less than”, and skirt around the activities that dare and daunt you.
But the problem with this approach is that it stunts your growth. You keep growing in a linear fashion, rather than broadening your skills and surpassing your own expectations of who you are. You never become more than you could be.
With every challenge, you have a choice. Sure, you can claim your anti-social tendencies and own being a hermit… Or you can accept the challenge of learning how to interact with — and charm — anyone.
You can talk about how exercise hurts and be proudly sedentary… Or you can dig deep, do another rep, and watch your whole life change.
It isn’t easy to work at the things you suck at. But the choice between shying away from your challenges and taking them on is the difference between staying where you are and becoming a supernova.
It’s up to you… But I vote supernova.
Art installation by James Turrell.