The first time you do anything in life it isn’t about perfection it is about finishing. For so long I’ve stopped myself from trying to do new and different things because I feared not doing it “properly” or looking dumb. This mindset has caused me to miss a ton of new and exciting experiences. What I realized is that everyone in this world had to start somewhere – the famous basketball player, musician, writer, speaker, CEO at one point or another had the same exact skill sets that I currently possess.
The only difference is those people went out and finished the first time. It may have not been beautiful, in fact they may have sucked and failed miserably, but they finished. Once you finish then the 2nd time around you can try to do a little better. After doing this enough times you will be able to achieve that idea of “perfection” that you have in your head, but the point is you have to start somewhere.
This fear of looking dumb comes from the tendency to compare yourself to others. That doesn’t make too much sense though because each person in this world has different skill sets and different experiences that make them who they are. It is pointless to use the excuse that you will never be as good as so and so to prevent you from taking that path you desire. I’ve found that the most exciting moments in life are when I challenge myself to do better, no matter where I stack up compared to others.
For example, I recently bought a road bike to go on long bike rides throughout the bay area on weekends. If I were to pay attention to all the other bikers on the road I should probably throw in the towel. I’m terrible compared to all these other people. Not only are they faster and fitter but they have the right biking gear and I stick out like a sore thumb wearing my gym shorts and running jersey while biking. I’m not biking to be better than these other people though, I’m biking because I enjoy it and from the rush I get from conquering steep hills. It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m the slowest guy out there but what matters to me is that I tackle these challenges head on and achieve the goals I set for myself on the road.
Another example – I love writing. I’ve loved writing for a long time – like over 5 years now. I’ve never taken any formal class to learn how to write, with the exception of the required classes in college. In particular I enjoy writing about self development topics (I have no idea why, that’s just my thing :)..), but I’ve stopped myself from doing this publicly for a very long time for the fear of looking dumb. There are so many amazing writers out there, and there are so many people writing about these topics that it is intimidating. However, I realized that I write on this blog not for the people who read it but for myself. I really appreciate the people who read this, but at the end of the day whether there is 1 reader or 1,000,000 readers it really doesn’t matter to me. I am writing because I enjoy writing, I find it challenging and not because I want to be better than the other writer out there.
The point is if you want to do something in your life just get up and do it. If you are doing it for the right reasons then it doesn’t matter what others think, just do it for yourself. Just worry about finishing because that is how you start anything in life.