What are you winning at in life? This is the question I think we need to ask ourselves about our lives more often — what are we doing well and how could we do it even better? As born complainers, we like to focus on whatever we see as the negative parts of our lives, forgetting about the good stuff: the little things that keep us going and get us out of bed every morning; the things that, when combined, make up our reason for living; or perhaps the things that catch us by surprised and bring smiles to our faces when we need them most. I guess the question here is how do we switch the focus so that we’re living the best lives that we possibly can? How do we get the blinders off to see all the things our lives truly have to offer rather than the myopic views we tend to obsess over? In the words of a certain sportswear giant:
“Just do it.”
Life gives us all different sets of skills, and it’s up to us how we decide to use them. I’ve always been a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades, always dabbling with a handful of interest and side projects, but never really mastering anything in particular. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to work at developing every one of them as much as I can! It’s fear that causes us to shy away from our dreams or from doing anything with our abilities. We see people who’re way farther ahead at the things we want to do and get discouraged. We see those far more skilled at our hobbies than we are, convincing ourselves that we’ll never get to that level. But more often than not, those people started from the very point you’re at now, with nothing, having yet to prove themselves to the world. I’ve applied this kind of thinking to live over and over, with varying degrees of success. Recent examples saw me…
- …put together a video for a Manpacks-sponsored contest, where I goofily rapped about the products they offered but in the end won me a $900 gift certificate for their service
- …be a guest host on a friend’s Internet radio show, ending up in what I regard as one of the funniest episodes of the show yet (not safe for work!):
Now, the rap had bits that were off-tempo and could’ve used more polished instrumentation. My radio voice needs work and I speak really quickly or mumble at times. And my photography skills are nowhere yet near where I’d like them to be. But by doing things like these, you can visibly see that I’m working at it, trying to improve my skills enough to be great at the things I want to do, taking further control of my destiny. Basically, the lesson here is this: YOU NEED TO BE WILLING TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE AND KEEP TRYING UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT. The Internet changed the world that we live in by expanding the boundaries of our knowledge. We’re no longer trying to compete with the peers in our classrooms, offices or neighbourhoods alone — you might be the best in your neighbourhood, or even in your city, but the Internet has opened up a whole world of competition for people who do what you do! However. The reality we’re faced with is not meant to discourage you from trying — it’s meant to make you try HARDER. So each time you fail, dust yourself off and try again. Stop telling yourself that you’re not good enough or getting dismayed when things don’t exactly go to plan. Work at it. Get better. And eventually — hey. You just might get it right, after all.