Practice Makes Progress
Practice makes progress. This is a phrase that I’ll never forget. Unfortunately I can’t remember who exactly said or quoted this, but I’m pretty sure it was a college instructor. I’ve always been interested in trying new things or projects, but like most people I feel discouraged when I suck at it. Who would’ve thought?! After a while I learned that you can’t be good at everything, and you definitely can’t be great at anything without practicing and failing A LOT. Nobody is born being the best at something—it takes discipline and determination. All the super stars and super geniuses had to work at their craft and study very hard for a very long time. A great podcaster (Cathy Heller from “Don’t Keep Your Day Job”) once said we’re only used to seeing the highlights, and not the behind-the-scenes. We think achieving greatness is impossible because we’re not as great as our idols. But that’s bullshit. Those people you look up to didn’t magically become an overnight success. They worked and worked and failed and failed and got rejection after rejection for a long time before they became “successful”.
If I had the self confidence to start this journey and hustle right out of high school, I believe I would be close to killing it right now, ten years later. Instead I was afraid and didn’t have the right guidance or knowledge. No use in dwelling on the past though; instead I’ll learn from my mistakes and do the work to make my life better. It may be 10+ years from now before I get to a place where I am my own boss. I’m fine with that! What’s the alternative? Keep working a day job until I retire, then die? That’s not what I want. Go back to school which will take just as many if not more years of work towards something I don’t want with a huge pile of debt on top of it? No thank you! Each mistake and hardship is no longer an excuse to give up or bitch about life being unfair. It’s part of learning and growing. That’s what I’ve decided my life is all about. Growing and doing good.
Friday night we had our first official show. Behind the scenes just about everything I had planned for it went wrong. I had to constantly calm myself down, and come up with plans B, C, D, and E. Thursday night I blanked on lyrics to my own songs. Friday night, just an hour before playing Ben was more nervous than I’ve ever seen him. We both were silently freaking out over something that in the grand scheme of things didn’t even matter. EVEN IF people were outright mean to us and didn’t like us, it wouldn’t matter. But throughout the few screw-ups and awkward moments that did occur, people were still kind and we still had a good time performing.
Immediately after our set we both agreed that it sucked but were flooded with kind words from our friends and family. I told Ben we had to use this as a learning experience and relax. Yesterday I wrote down a few things for us to work on in the future…the most important thing is to stop talking down on ourselves and to keep moving on when we mess up. NOTHING good comes from beating ourselves up, especially in front of an audience. So if this post does anything at all, I hope it shows you that you can still find confidence after screwing up and you can still pursue something if you “suck” at it. Everything requires practice. Don’t give up!