Don’t Worry about Flashy

Often, when we start learning to do something new, we begin with visions of how amazed people will be to witness our new skills or accomplishments. That’s what gets us started in the first place.

It’s good to dream about being fluently conversational in a language. It’s good to dream about being able to do cool things like a ninety degree push-up. (Have you heard of those?? Check them out; they’re absolutely the coolest.)

But don’t rush to those goals. Build a strong foundation, and then build systematically upon that. Embrace plateaus when they arrive and don’t give up before progress resumes. It’s slow work. The impressive stuff will come with time. And when it does come, it’ll really mean something.

In the meantime, don’t be embarrassed to admit that in your months of practicing you haven’t gotten around to learning anything impressive yet, if anyone asks. Make whatever excuses you feel you need to make, but in the end don’t be ashamed to admit that you’re not there yet. And don’t let embarrassment be a reason to give up.

Many will not realize it, but if you’ve been working for months or years on slowly learning something, and you haven’t yet given up on it, that’s impressive all by itself.

And if people are underwhelmed in the short term, they might be all the more impressed when eventually the hard work of persistent years finally begins to pay off.

Then again, maybe those people won’t be impressed. “Took you long enough!” But you’ll impress yourself. And you’ll impress all those who weren’t impatiently watching from the sidelines, those who see only the end result and hear the inspiring story of how it came about.

Don’t hurry, and don’t give up.

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