Have you ever been invited to do something new and been reluctant to accept the invitation because it was something you’ve never done before? Have you ever felt embarrassed when you’ve tried a new game, took on a new task or had to go somewhere new and you didn’t do it well? You might even say you failed. Perhaps, as a result, you’ve made yourself a vow that you will never do that again!
May I ask, who all had the expectation that you would succeed? I went mini-golfing with a friend once. She had never played mini-golf before. Most of us will not be surprised by the fact that she came in last placed. She decided, then and there, that she did not like mini-golf and that she would never do it again. Her response made me sad. First of all, I didn’t think anything of her failure. How could she be expected to win if she’d never done it before? Second, the rest of us all enjoy mini-golf. If we were to want to play again it would mean leaving her out. Or, if we wanted to do something with her it would mean never doing something the rest of us like again. Her one decision put us all into a lose-lose situation. But for her, that failure was just way to humiliating to have to bear again.
If you were to write out a list of things that you are good at or even just satisfactory at, that list would be quite short compared to all of the things that exist in the world. And that’s not because you suck, it’s because there is just way too many things in the world for us to be excellent at or even just satisfactory at everything. Not only that, but let’s be realistic here, chances are you wouldn’t even be interested in all of the things in the world that can be done. But not knowing how to do something shouldn’t be our excuse not to try something new when the opportunity or need arises.
If you look back over your list of things you are good at, how did you get there? Well that’s simple; you learned them. Somewhere along the line of your life you had the need to learn that skill in order to move along with your life. When I was in high school my mom worked 45 minutes from our house and didn’t get home until 6:00pm. My sister and I were responsible for cooking supper on weekdays. On the weekends mom would often do the cooking, but sometimes we did it together. Well, let me tell you, my mom was probably twice as fast at peeling those potatoes then I was! Even though we both noticed the difference, neither one of us thought anything further of it then to simply notice it as a fact. She did not think I was stupid or useless because I couldn’t peel as fast as her. In fact, she had no expectation of me being able to keep up with her. Why? Simply because she had more time to develop the skill then I’d had so far in my life. Now that I’m an adult and have four daughters I can totally school them at peeling potatoes and I think I could even keep up with my mother. I’ve had more practice, I’ve developed the skill.
I encourage you, don’t ever be afraid of something simply because it is unknown. If it is something you are interested in or if it is necessary to improve your life, you can learn it. I believe that just because we don’t know how to do something doesn’t mean we’re not capable of changing that, should we choose! And that’s the key – if it’s something you want, you choose or you need – you can do it. The only reason you cannot do it, or cannot do it well at the moment, is because
- You’ve never done it before
- You haven’t had a chance to practice
- You haven’t had training
- You quit.
Quitting – the biggest cause of failure. You quit because you’ve set your expectations too high and you and dislike the discomfort of your continued perceived failure. You quit because you start to listen to other’s judgement, telling you you’re not capable or you shouldn’t or they wouldn’t. People! Who cares???? Who cares if you’re moving along slower then you thought you would. Who cares if others don’t think you can or should. If you like doing it or if the eventual success of doing it will result in great blessing on your life then for goodness sake keep going!
And let’s quit judging ourselves as failures when we stop doing something before we finish it. Huh? There’s a difference between quitting and stopping. Quitting is believing you’re not capable when it is something you still want. Stopping is discontinuing to do something you no longer want. Give yourself permission to stop and allow no excuse to quit.