This lesson applies to anything. For most things in life, the best way to get better is to do the activity over and over again. At first, you probably won’t be very good. But over time, you will improve. It’s inevitable.
The tough thing about this advice is it’s hard to put into practice. We all like to succeed. When I first started exercising, I hated it that I was huffing and puffing and couldn’t even run a mile. When I first wrote a paper, I didn’t like it that my advisor made me re-write it five times. When I first went out on a date, it was embarrassing that I didn’t know how to talk to girls.
But everyone is bad at the beginning. To get better at something, we have to be persistent in those early stages, even when we feel like we aren’t improving very much. We have to stick with it and trust the process. Here are some things that have helped me to ‘run more:’
- Remember past successes. What is one thing you used to be bad at, but you improved over time? If consistent effort led to improvement in the past, it is likely to work for the hurdle you are facing now.
- Look for the small improvement. Sometimes we get discouraged because we are looking for a huge improvement, and we don’t see it. But it’s unrealistic to expect a massive improvement right away—that just isn’t how skill development usually works. Instead, look for and celebrate the small improvements.
- Get a coach. For almost anything you are working to improve, there has been someone who has done it already. There might even be a tried-and-true method that has been found for how to get better. You don’t have to figure out everything yourself. Seek the wisdom of an expert. Buy a book. Get a coach.
Discussion: What is one thing you want to get better at? Could you make a commitment to ‘run more?’ What is one strategy you could implement to help you reach your goal?