#4: Want to Be Great? Be Mediocre

Start with what you have.

That's what I say to encourage myself when I'm tempted to procrastinate because I don't have sophisticated gear to shoot videos, the latest mic to record a podcast, or a fancy website to host my blog.

But beyond starting with the available material resources, starting with what you have also means being okay with the skills you currently have.

It can feel icky and intimidating—being a beginner. But it's a step we can't skip when mastering any craft.

Of course, you will be terrible at it! At first.

While learning a new skill doesn't always have to take 10,000 hours, it does require one to learn how to be mediocre. To be okay with messing up. To embrace flaws and failures.

The only way to get to the good ideas is to flush out the bad ones first.

The only way to be great is to be mediocre for a while.

Emphasis on the phrase "for a while," because we don't want to stay mediocre forever.

The point of embracing mediocrity is to release the pressure to perfect something on the first try. To engage in deliberate practice without beating ourselves up when we stumble. To focus on doing the work instead of judging it before it's done.

I am a mediocre writer, but I want to be better.

And the only way to get better at writing is to embrace mediocrity and commit to a daily practice of showing up and shipping every single day.

“You need to let this information seep into you: When you stick with something you learn things you can’t learn any other way.

You learn that beginnings do not represent complete experiences. The beginnings of juggling, for example, are ineptitude and frustration. You keep dropping the balls and can’t believe you’re ever going to get the hang of it.

But ineptitude and frustration will pass, and then you’ll start to feel pleasure with acquiring a new skill. Now when you see a master juggler you’ll really appreciate what she’s doing. You’ll begin to admire craft no matter where you see it, in all arts, in all professions.

Sticking with a simple little project for thirty days can make you realize something that could change your life: Commitment and mastery do not close doors; they open them. For the first time you will begin to know what high achievers always knew. Making a choice doesn’t lock you into limits, it sets you free to fully develop your gifts.”

— I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher

P.S. If you've always wanted to try writing and publishing consistently, you're welcome to join our small writing group who keep each other accountable. Our goal is to help each other build a habit of shipping every single day. Shoot me a DM on Twitter if you're in!

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Hi, and thanks for reading! I'm Kishly, a cheerleader of creatives and copywriter turned marketing strategist. Bookmark this blog to read my daily atomic essays on marketing, compassionate productivity, creative living, and lifelong learning. Or subscribe to Process, my weekly-ish newsletter for young adults (and the young at heart) in pursuit of wisdom and wonder. ✨

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