Updated: Feb 12
"Be brave enough to suck at something new".
This felt like a freaking message from the Universe yesterday. I just recently started my copywriting course. Although not a twin, it's somewhat a sibling to content writing that I'm familiar with. But throughout the course, I'm learning things I didn't think I'd learn and getting introduced to skills that I didn't think I'd need.
You can imagine how it can be equally exciting and confusing all at once. Because most of the time the prominent thoughts in my mind are the worst-case scenarios. Does taking up a new skill makes sense? Do I have the capability, the time, the necessary resources to use it? Okay wait, am I even any good at it?
The Irony Of It.
But let me point out the irony of this thought pattern, particularly the last one. The whole point of starting to learn something new is because you SUCK at it. BIG TIME. You don't know the first thing about it. You don't know how it works. You don't know the lingo. The only conclusion you can derive from that is because you suck at it.
I suck at copywriting. There, I said it. (probably a very bad message to put out for my future clients but I guess we are all a beginner at some point!)
But Wasn't I Brave?
What intrigued me was the fact that despite me having the bravery to suck at something new, how I perceived the whole learning curve wasn't so positive. What am I so afraid of? I am at the very starting point of an unknown journey but all I could see was the possibility of whether I failed or succeeded at the endpoint. The unpredictability of life can lead me anywhere. ANYWHERE. I may rise and build a side hustle out of this or I may fail miserably. And let's not forget there are hundreds of possibilities in between these two extremes.
But I took a leap of faith and I invested in myself and this course to learn. I was brave despite the unknowing future that can encompass literally anything. But why do I still have this dreading feeling of already failing? (uwu it rhymes)
Praises vs Glorification.
It really made me question whether we praise ourselves for the right things. This is because how we praise ourselves has a lot to say about how we view success or failure. Are we glorifying outcomes as the utmost important aspect of any journey or are we prioritising our experiences of the journey?
If you're wondering, there is nothing wrong with praising outcomes. Did you graduate? Congratulations, it was 4 years of hard work. Did you get the internship that you so badly wanted? Amazing, you have made yourself a quality candidate. You're getting married to your girlfriend? Lovely, you both must have worked really hard on building such a loving relationship. But we always only hyperfocus on the outcome; glorifying it.
But do we prioritise our experiences of the journey equally?
In that 4 years of the degree, how many times have you praised your efforts? In the time spent making yourself a quality candidate, how many times have you acknowledged your resilience to bounce back from failure? In the time you spent building that relationship, how many times have you given yourself a pat on the back for having the tough conversations with your partner?
I was so hyperfocused on how the outcomes of the journey of my copywriting skill might turn out to be that I did not acknowledge and praise the journey itself. To be honest I have been thinking of taking this course for months... MONTHS. Yet there was always something more important that needed my attention and time. Yet even when there was time, I'd rather watch a series than take a course. But at some point, I took a stand to myself that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and grow. I took a stand to myself that I had to learn over mindless entertainment. I realised that until I wrote these very lines, I didn't praise myself for the journey.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of 'Eat Pray Love' and also an advocate for creative living through her book 'Big Magic', took vows when she was just sixteen years old. She vowed to the Universe that regardless of the outcomes, she would write forever. In essence, she only promised to become a writer, not a great writer, or a successful writer or 'would have this many published books by the age of thirty' kind of writer. Just a writer.
Being a writer was a more realistic goal than being a great writer. Being a copywriter is a more realistic goal than being a great copywriter for me. It doesn't mean I can't get better at it and become great but it allows the space for me to also suck at it when I do. It doesn't predetermine the outcome of how I should be and automatically make me feel like a failure even before I begin.
So, how can you do better when you take up something new?
Point out the irony of your fearful thought patterns. We have trained our minds to always muster up the worst-case scenarios that we don't see how these thoughts can be false or inaccurate.
Praise yourself for your courage to suck at something new. Praise yourself for taking up a challenge. Praise yourself for the progress in your learning curve. Acknowledge that you kicked yourself out of being complacent and out of your comfort zones.
Set realistic goals that don't trigger your fear of failure even before you begin. It is totally okay to suck.
What are you so afraid of? It takes courage to suck at something.