I’ve wanted to do a lot of different things in my life, but I didn’t work on any of them because I wasn’t OK with failing. I compared myself to people who were good at things and thought it was too late for me to catch up with everyone else, so I didn’t want to even try.
Then I had someone tell me that you have to be willing to be a beginner, and I came to realize that we just can’t wait for perfection before we start something and that we can’t be held back by our fear of failure. It has taken me YEARS to realize this unfortunately. You wouldn’t read dozen books on painting and THEN, once you are an expert on painting, start painting. You have to start experimenting in order to learn, and at first you are probably going to suck, and that’s totally 100 percent OK. You can’t wait for perfection. You have to work toward it.
Maybe this is a concept that is fairly obvious to everyone but me, but it’s slowly sinking in and I’m realizing that if I want to develop my talents and achieve my dreams and goals, I have to start SOMEWHERE, even if somewhere is in the middle of CRAPVILLE.
A lot of this started sinking in more than ever as I was reading from the Book of Mormon the other day, in 1 Nephi (Chapters 3 and 4). God commands Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to get the records enscribed on brass plates from Laban. After two failed attempts to get Laban to give or sell the plates to them, Laman and Lemuel are ready to give up — and I know I would be wondering why nothing was working, if it was really what God wanted me to do — but Nephi goes back a third time, even though Laban literally wants to KILL Nephi and his brothers. Nephi refused to give up until they had accomplished what they had set out to do.
I love what Nephi says here, in chapter 4, verse 6:
“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”
So even though Nephi had no idea how things were going to get done, or even whether that attempt would be successful, he went for it. God works like that: we have to take a few steps into the dark, and once we show that faith he’ll keep leading us a few steps at a time. Maybe He lets us fall flat on our faces a few times so we can learn what doesn’t work — or just to build character, but if we’re faithful we can do hard things with God’s help! Yay.
I saw this the other day and plan on hanging it over the desk in my office:
Just begin. Be willing to be a beginner. Step into the unknown and learn from your mistakes along the way. You might suck for a while at whatever you’re pursuing, but that most certainly does not mean that you will always suck. Some people are prodigies, but most people that are good at things were beginners once too.
The other day I was scrolling through the Instagram feed of a popular fashion blogger who now makes insane amounts of money and basically lives in a CASTLE, but as I scrolled to the beginning of her feed from a couple of years ago, it became apparent that she didn’t start with a super cohesive look to her branding and her iPhone photos used to not be anything to write home about. The key is that she started, not even knowing what amazing things she would end up doing, and now she is succeeding tremendously.
Just begin. Begin now, and five years from now you’ll probably be amazed at what you’ve accomplished, instead of regretting spending another five years not trying to pursue your dreams.