“I can’t even draw a stick figure.”
“I can’t even stand on a skateboard.”
“I can’t play a tune.”
“I can’t type that fast.”
Really? Well I have some questions for you:
How often have you really tried?
How much have you educated yourself about that particular thing you “can’t” do?
How much training did you get?
How much practice have you put in?
Did you make doing whatever it is a priority in your life or were you just expecting to miraculously wake up one day with this new ability?
Because, while it is true some people are more naturally talented at some things than others, most people who are good enough at something for you to notice how good they are at that thing have put in countless hours practicing that thing.
So is it really any surprise that you’re not as good at something as someone who has trained themselves to do something is?
Be very wary of the limitations you place on yourself. Repeatedly telling yourself that you can’t do something, will eventually make it true, simply because you convince yourself to never try.
And let’s be frank, perhaps with countless hours of training, you still won’t be as good at something as you want to be — we all have our own areas of difficulty (as well as excellence) — but you will certainly be better than you were when you started. And you will likely have learned something valuable in the process.
You rarely get better at anything without experience. And that also means countless failures.
So don’t say you can’t do it if you haven’t made repeated attempts and failed.
Don’t say you can’t do it if you’ve barely ever even tried.
But what made many of the most successful people in the world successful is that they persisted. They had the desire, the determination, the passion, and the will to succeed. And they used it.
And that made all the difference.
Success isn’t a magical thing that some people can have and others cannot. It’s something you work for.
As Steve Jobs also said:
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” (video)
No one gets through life without making mistakes. Only some people make a bigger deal/show out of them than others. Some of the most successful people in the world fail all the time, but they don’t sit around announcing it to everyone. Instead, they simply learn from it and move on.
When you treat your mistakes like learning experiences, you turn what some people consider to be a negative thing into a positive one. And that’s encouraging.
Everyone has weaknesses and limitations. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone faces failure and unfairness in life at one time or another. You are not alone. By focusing on your strengths and making the most of what you DO have, you can do great things. What are the things keeping you from achieving your goal? Are they truly things you cannot work around if you truly wanted to? No one is going to hand you your results. You have to work for them. Be stronger than your excuses.
Life is hard enough already without blaming yourself for things that are beyond your control. And even when things are within your control, we all make mistakes — it is an essential part of being human — it’s how we learn.
Mistakes happen and there’s no stopping them. “Live and learn” is the best we can do. You can’t change the past, you can only affect the future by resolving to do better next time.
“Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits.” — Robert Brault
20 things I’ve learned about determination & commitment in 333 days.
1. It means focusing on your heart’s desire(s) and not giving up on your goal(s) when you are forced beyond your comfort zone or when inevitable setbacks or disappointments happen.
2. It means focusing on changing the things you can and not complaining about or focusing on the things you cannot.
3. It means taking action and doing what is hard & necessary to get things done and not expecting others to do it for you.
4. It means facing your fears and battling doubts, but refusing to give in to either.
5. It means making mistakes, falling down, or suffering embarrassment — but learning from these experiences and using them to push forward towards your goal — not letting them weaken your resolve or overcome you.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” — Calvin Coolidge
6. It means taking steps every single day, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and no matter how small your steps may be, to move towards your heart’s desires.
7. It means focusing on the bigger picture — making sacrifices and delaying gratification in order to invest in where you intend to go.
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
8. It means letting go of trying to please or be “friends” with everyone.
9. It means potentially (likely) stirring things up, causing a “ruckus”, drawing complaints, or attracting “haters” due to your actions — and pushing forward regardless.
10. It means dealing with the criticism from friends, family, colleagues, competitors, or anyone at any time who may cross your path and judge you or laugh at you or tell you “you can’t” or “you won’t”, but not letting it stand in the way of you and your goal.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” — Gail Devers
11. It means living with integrity — sticking up for your beliefs & values and being honest with yourself and others — even when it’s uncomfortable or your views or goals appear unpopular.
12. It means constantly seeking ways to improve yourself and your “craft” and better ways to do whatever is necessary to achieve your goal.
13. It means not giving up when a door is slammed in your face or you are told “no” 99 times — instead, you focus on finding alternative paths to your goal — some way, somehow to get to the person behind the 100th door that says “yes”.
14. It means if you are offended, betrayed, or belittled by people who are close to you or you discover others working against you, not letting it derail you from reaching your ultimate goal.
15. It means continually and deliberately reaching beyond your comfort zone and doing what others won’t in order to achieve your goal.
“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.” — Thomas Foxwell Buxton
16. It means understanding both your strengths and your weaknesses — and maximizing one while trying to minimize the other.
17. It means fueling your own fire and being a significant source of your own motivation — utilizing your passion for what you’re doing to achieve your goal.
18. It means finding a way, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable what you’re doing may be, to enjoy and learn from the process & journey — to live in the present and appreciate what you’re doing or any positive impact it may have on others.
19. It means believing in yourself and a goal that may appear “unrealistic” or against the odds to many — but knowing deep down that it’s not only possible, but that you can do it.
20. It means living up to your own standards.
Giving up is the easiest thing to do. In fact, many times people are happy to accept quitting as long as one appeared to put in some effort — even if it wasn’t their best — “It’s ok, you did the best you could.”
Some may even tempt you with, “No one will think any less of you for quitting.”, but…
If you’re truly going after your heart’s desires and you truly believe in yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish, then it doesn’t matter what other people think because you’re not doing it for them — you’re doing it for you.
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” — William Feather