After a conversation with a student the other day, the question came up: why does this take longer for some than others?
I think the answer to this is as varied as the people themselves. But there is a central element which is vital to rapid success, and it can be summarised like this:
Less successful people wait to be ready, more successful people take action before they’re ready.
The student in question has the mindset of “get comfortable on the streets, then in the shops, then on the tube – once I’ve mastered the first, I’ll do the second, then the third.”
But you have to treat this whole thing (and life itself) far more holistically. We are not discreet, reducible beings which can be “fixed” in such a linear fashion. To get “good” you have to realise two things:
- You will never “master” anything. There is always more to learn.
- If you wait to get good at everything, you will never get great at anything.
When I started out, I did those shop approaches, those bus approaches, those groups of 4, 5… I remember a 9 once! I remember stopping a group of 7 crazy, hyped up girls on a hen do. They absolutely ripped me apart. I’ve gone bright red with embarrassment, I’ve fucked up repeatedly and spectacularly and I made it a practise to do things long before I knew “how”, and the reason is this:
To learn “how” to do something, you need experience in doing it, so if you wait to know how to do it before doing it, you’ll never do it, so you’ll never know how!
It’s the learning Catch-22. The thing you need to do more than anything else is go for things before you’re ready and fail at them. It’s the quickest way to learn. Forget reading up, forget mental rehearsal. Experience beats knowledge, hands down, every time.
That’s not to say that knowledge can’t enhance experience – of course. In fact, I think it’s a must. But in order to enhance your experiences with knowledge you first need experiences!
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