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Sunday, 14 February 2010

I want to be the very best, like no one ever was

Friday night I was invited over to a friends place to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. I have mixed feelings on the Olympics in general, and on the Opening/Closing Ceremonies, but I'm going to set those aside for a minute. Perhaps another post in the near future.

The thing that I couldn't help but think, while I was watching the ceremonies, was that dammit, I want to be good at something. Really good at something. Like, really really good. I don't have to be world's best or anything. Just really really good.

And it's not just because of the world's best athletes. It was the incredible choreographers and dancers and composers and musicians and everything. It was all amazing. There are so many talented people in the world, and I'm just not one of them.

The only thing I've ever really been good at is school, and since coming to university, not even that anymore. I guess I get praised for being really good at taking minutes, but like, really? That's such a lame thing to be really good at. I also don't super-love doing it, and what's the point of being good at something you don't love?

The little voice that wants me to be happy says "It's okay, you're really good at being you! And that's all that matters." I know I should listen to it, but damn. I want to be amazing.

1 comment:

Loud said...

Something that is easy to assume about talent or craft is that it is innate. As it transpires, this is really only true in a vanishingly small number of cases. If you look at successful people across time and space and cultures, you do see a pattern emerge; practice really does make perfect.

It sounds awful and cliche to the point that you wouldn't believe it to be true, but if you sink something like 10 000 hours of practice (and not just repetition but learning from your mistakes and growing) into the discipline of your choice, you will in fact be the very best, possibly even like no one ever was.

This entails monumental devotion. It entails sacrifice. It means it will take you ten whole years of your life always consciously trying to get better at whatever it is you want to do. It will mean spending a lot of time being anything BUT the best at what you're doing.

Events like the Olympics showcase you only those who have achieved such heights as make them truly noteworthy. The public doesn't see things like Kasparov's first chess game, or Usain Bolt's first steps...for the very reason that neither was likely very auspicious in and of itself.

What I'm not trying to say is that you are failing to reach your full potential as a human being. What I am trying to say is that you shouldn't sell yourself short. You are a unique and wonderful being among unique and wonderful beings, everything else is up to you.