I recently learned about a study that tested the best way to become proficient at a task. They did this by looking at how two groups of people learned to make clay pots.
In one corner you have the ‘studiers’ who were asked to spend the majority of their allotted time researching best practices, new techniques, etc.
In the other corner you have the ‘doers’ who were asked to spend their entire allotted time making pots and learning on the go.
In the end, each team compared their best pots.
The best pots of the doers were leaps ahead of the ones made by the studiers, even though their first several attempts at making pots were much worse.
The doers had the advantage of learning from their mistakes instead of the theory of other people’s mistakes.
Now by nature, I’m a studier. I research the hell out of topics, read books, listen to podcasts, devour blog entries, sign up for classes and webinars…but when the time comes to take action, I tend to choke.
The thought of spending all this time learning what to do and still making mistakes is terrifying.
I keep telling myself that mistakes are inevitable and to just go for it, but being on the edge of doing something important and unfamiliar is like being a 6 year old on the high dive; the distance between you and the end goal is dizzying, anything could happen in that space, the END OF THE WORLD could happen in that space.
I’m still in the middle of learning to come to terms with this high-dive fear, so I’m not going to write out a full set of tips like I usually would in a ‘how to’ article. Instead, I’ll share a small thing I’ve noticed that seems to take the edge off the fear.
And no, it isn’t pharmaceutical or found in a liquor cabinet. Unfortunately.
(that was a joke, don’t come for me).
It’s simply observing.
Observe the people who are already successful at what you want to do. If you look long enough, you’ll start to notice all of their mistakes. This isn’t so you can judge them or feel superior, it’s to bring the perceived height of that diving board down a few meters.
It reminds you that the people you feel like you can’t live up to are just people.
And if no angry mobs have shown up at their doorsteps, brandishing pitchforks and demanding their head on a pike, you’re probably gonna be just fine with the mistakes you make, and so am I.
For the sake of transparency, the big thing I’m trying to get over right now is making videos. I believe I have something interesting to say, but every time I step in front of a camera I freeze up and hate the result.
It’s time to get over myself, jump off the high-dive, and make a few ugly pots before I can make some good ones!
What is your high-dive and what pots do you need to start making? Let me know in the comments! The comments on HERE people who know me…not on Facebook