Progress not perfection

21 januari 2019

Have you ever NOT done something because you believed you weren’t good enough at it?


Maybe you didn't go on that ski-trip with the girls, because you were afraid they'd all be so much better at it than you.

Maybe you didn't volunteer for that project, because you didn't feel smart enough. 

Maybe you didn't continue your dancing lessons, art school, or any other hobby you were interested in, simply because after a couple of months you felt you really sucked at it. 


When did we start believing that perfection is the norm? 

That you have to be perfect at something to have the right to do it?


As human beings, we are designed to learn and evolve. 

That's not just the privilege of the young, that's a standard feature for all of us.


"I don't know how to do that", is not a reason to not do it.

It's an invitation to learn how to do it. Step by step. 


Let's zoom out a bit:

How did you learn how to walk?

Did you one day just get up and stroll around the room like a pro?

No, you struggled to get up. Then you fell back on your well-isolated bum (thank you Pampers for inventing airbags before anyone else).

And you got up again, and again and again.

And then a couple of years later you had to repeat the damn process all over again when you learned how to ride a bike.

That's how children learn. That's how people learn.


You can choose to ignore that law of nature. You can buy-in to the myth of instant perfection for the talented.

But no amount of talent will make you proficient overnight.

Even the most talented people need to work hard to turn their talent into skill. Ask any sports pro. Ask any professional musician. Ask anyone who's good at anything.


The good thing is: everybody can learn and evolve, at any point in their lives, in any area they choose to.


That belief is called the Growth Mindset. And it's one of the most important tools you have at your disposal to be happy and successful in life.


What if you believed that your (professional) worth is not linked to what you already know and already have accomplished. That it is your capacity (check, we all have this) and your willingness to explore & learn new things that is the key to your success?


The more we trust in our innate capacity to grow and evolve, the easier the learning process becomes. 


Mistakes are no longer a problem, but just an opportunity to do better next time.


Who you are today, is not who you will be in 10 years time.

Unless you choose to. 

But why would you?

Instead, you can choose to cultivate your own growth mindset.

Whenever you say "I can't" - ask what you'd need to be able to say "I can". Then go and learn that.

Whenever you hit yourself on the head because you made a mistake - ask what you could do differently next time.

Whenever you are about to say "no", because you're not perfect - realize no one is. No one has to be.


Focus on progress - not perfection.

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