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Bad At It.

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

You are a bad writer.

You are not a good runner.

You are weak, and can’t lift much weight.

Your garden never looks as good as the neighbor’s garden.

You’re a bad actor, and everyone thinks you are a hack.

You couldn’t make the team.

Your grades aren’t ever going to be better…

You are bad at… things.

Pick your target, you will miss. Because you are just getting started. Everyone starts somewhere. People will say otherwise. “Person XYZ was born to play the game.” “Person XYZ is just so smart.” No. Once upon a time that person was a toddler, who didn’t know how to walk, talk, write, read or catch. Everyone starts from zero.

The people who are great in their field, who make impacts that resonate through the world, work hard. They may have a genetic gift for the field they work in, but they also might not. They might be just like us. Normal people who kept at it.

Yesterday, I fumbled through a dialogue piece in my writing. I worked on the same interaction for four hours, made no progress and put it away for the day. It didn’t read right, and I still think it doesn’t read right. During breakfast this morning I contemplated what happens if someone were daunted by the task of writing a book, because each chapter, each section, didn’t read right. They start to think, “This is bad.” Like I was thinking.

Some people might say enthusiastically, “No, it’s not bad. It’s fine,” or “You are being too hard on yourself.” Yes and no. It isn’t fine. It is bad. But that’s because its bad right now. If I quit because I was bad at it, I would be too hard on myself. Acknowledging it is bad, not good enough yet, something that needs to be fixed, means I am moving in a direction.

Because I am not a good enough writer yet. I am not hitting my mark, or the mark others would want from me. Neither have you.

You are bad at “It.” The difference between people who make it to noteworthy and those who fall by the wayside is what we do with that knowledge. Are you going to stop writing that novel because its hard? Is someone else going to write the story you want written? Are you going to stop exercising because you aren’t fast enough, strong enough or skilled enough? Will you get better thinking about it on the couch? Are you going to get over stage fright, or fully giving yourself over to a role while thinking about it over a sandwich? Get up and go.

Go write. Go run. Go lift. Go act. Go read. Go study. You won’t get any better thinking about how you’re bad at it. I'm bad at "It." So was Einstein. So was Shakespeare. So was Rich Froning. Until they weren’t.

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