Xavier Jared

TwoShay

Two brothers on personal development, philosophy, and being awesome

You're Not As Good As You Think You Are

Jared,

Sorry, it’s true. You’re actually really bad at what you do. Think of all those people better than you and all those areas you know need working on; think of all the hard work it’ll take to fix all that. Let that sink in for a minute. Feeling pretty rubbish now eh? Well guess what? You’re wrong about that too. Not being good at something is not a bad thing. You’re actually in the most awesome situation. The more you’ve got to learn, the more awesome you can become!

I have a suspicion that people like to think they are better at doing things than what they really are. I suspect this because I do it all the time and the thought that I’m somehow different to everyone else doesn’t sit well with me. We tend to let our ego get tied up in how good we are, and that’s really not a good idea. If you think about it, “Ego” is kind of a dick. He struts around like he owns the place, gets involved when no one asks him to, and the moment things turn pear-shaped he takes it way too personally and has a cry about it. I don’t know about you but I want as little to do with that guy as possible.

Don’t Delude Yourself

If you’re fooling yourself into thinking you’re good at something you’ll never truly become good at it. Ever. You’ll just get frustrated or angry whenever you try. A few years ago a thought I’d give lifting weights a crack. When I leveled up from biggest-guy-in-dad’s-shed to smallest-chump-at-the-gym I met a ton of people who had hit road blocks with this type of thinking. So often I’d see someone fail to hit that last rep or pile the weights up too high. Every time the same thing would happen: They’d get up and stare at the weights with a confused look on their face; they’d scratch their heads and look around trying to see if anyone else saw how absolutely bizarre it was that they couldn’t manage it.

It was pretty clear what was going through their heads. In their mind they were thinking they should have been able to lift that ludicrous pile of iron. They’d spent so much time doing mirror sets that our old friend Ego was getting in the way of their ability. Ego can’t handle not being really good at lifting weights so he plays up his disbelief whenever he fails. He hopes that maybe, just maybe, that hottie on the treadmill will realize he really could lift all those weights and see the true power of his spartan biceps. Sorry champ, you just failed. The weights stay the same—that shit is objective—and the chance of the girl on the treadmill looking over is a perfect zero.

I’m acting a little mean here but I’m sure you can see what our weight lifting buddies in my story did wrong. Imagine if they wound the window down a little and left Ego in the car. They wouldn’t have to put on more weights than they needed, they might even put less on and work on technique! They’d be able to realistically gauge their abilities and train accordingly. Now that is awesome!

Not all of us lift weights, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t identify with the above story. Just sub in accounting firm, spreadsheets and corporate-approval for gym, weight lifting and hottie-on-treadmill, and the story might resonate a little better.

I used to think like this all the time and I still catch myself doing it every now and then. I’ll go out for a run and straight out of the door I’ll push it way too hard. I’ll start thinking things like “I used to be able to run this quick” or “I’ve been training hard so why can’t I do this?” and without fail I’ll blow up ten minutes into the session and feel like an idiot for deluding myself. The same thing happens when I sit behind my drum kit. I’ll actually feel angry or frustrated at myself when I can’t play something as fast or as smoothly as I think I should be able to. I’m getting better at avoiding this though and the best advice I can give if you’re in the same situation is to just laugh it off. Seriously. Think about what’s really going on. You’re beating yourself up over not living up to standards that you have no right to be living up to—it’s a little bit funny really.

You’re always the student

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the realisation that you’re not good now will eventually lead to you being good later. That’s not how this works. You’re always the student. You’re always going to suck and there’s nothing wrong with that. Several years ago I made this realisation about my drumming. It dawned on me that there was so much I had to work on and so much I’d been doing wrong that to fix it would basically mean re-learning the instrument—I’d been deluding myself for years. At first it was very disheartening and if I was writing this back then you’d be reading an agony filled sob story about how having to start over was the hardest thing I’d ever done. Not now though! It helped me realise that it’s so much more rewarding to do things right. You actually learn things, not just tell yourself you do.

Celebrate where you’re at and love the fact that you’ll be able to get better. There’s more to learn and more to discover and you’re just missing out if you fool yourself into thinking you’re better than you really are.

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