I’ve been swing dancing off and on for over ten years now and there’s a common fear and belief I see among many beginner dancers. A lot of people who are new to dancing are afraid to ask other people to dance or participate in the social dances because they feel like they are not good. Some people won’t even try to dance because they never learned how and don’t want to go through the awkward stage of learning. For some reason, many people seem to be under the impression that we have to be good at something right from the start before we are willing to try it, or that we need to have some kind of natural ability that gives us prodigy-like skill at something in order to feel qualified to get into it. It is a very backwards way of thinking. You don’t get good before you start, you start so that you can become good!
People don’t like to be in a position where they are ignorant or unskilled at something they are attempting to do. People want to look good all the time and in everything. However, this prideful notion of needing to be good before even attempting something is not practical or realistic. As any successful person knows, whether it’s in dance, art, science, business or anything else in life, you fail your way to success. Failure and mistakes are not things to be avoided, they are things to be valued. You don’t go into something wanting to fail, but sometimes it will take multiple tries in order to get it right, and that is not a bad thing. It is called learning.
People who are determined not to “look bad” or not to try something new until they feel “ready,” are the ones who are doomed to keep saying, “someday I’ll do this thing,” yet that someday never comes. Or, they may be the ones who simply think, “I can’t,” and therefore never try. As other very successful people have also pointed out to me, you will always miss 100% of the shots that you never take. There may never come a time when you actually feel ready, because in order to feel “ready” you have to learn how to do what you want to do. The first day you start, you will not be ready, because it is your first day. It is impossible to be ready for something before you learn about it. It takes courage and confidence to try without being ready. You become ready through the process of experience and practice.
The achievement of goals and dreams do not come without the risk of failing and making mistakes along the way. Achievements are created by making mistakes along the way. The best things in life take effort and persistence. They will not be handed to you on a silver platter, and if they were, you would not appreciate them nearly as much. Success is much sweeter when you work hard for it, otherwise it hardly feels like your own success. The value comes from the journey. The journey shapes and molds you along the way, so that the final product holds deep personal significance and joy. Any attempt to skip the journey and go straight to the reward makes the reward empty, and will inevitably hold no long lasting satisfaction for the receiver of the handout.
Don’t be afraid of not feeling “ready” to try something new. Maintain reasonable safety practices, but don’t let fear or discomfort stop you from trying something. Dare to take the first step. No one who is good at something started at that level. It is important to just start, and the skills will develop along the way. Don’t wait for “someday” to come. Make that “someday” today! Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so start prioritizing your dreams so that they have a real chance at becoming a reality. There will always be other things demanding your attention and resources, but you must ask yourself where you will be in one, two, five or more years down the road if you keep allowing your goals and desires to be pushed back and procrastinated. Make today the day that you begin working toward your true desires. No one else is going to drop them in your lap, it’s time to start seeking them out. Use your journey to encourage others along the way!
Value the journey!
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