Want To Succeed More Than 95% Of Others? Begin Before You Think You’re Ready.
“Everyone’s first draft is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway
I have a friend. He calls himself a writer. He’s been working on his book for the past 6 years.
6 years ago, I was stoked for him. “That’s awesome, man! Wow, can’t wait to read it when it comes out. How’s writing going??” I’d always check in with him and the book.
Writing was always going alright, he said. But as the years went by, I noticed that he was always about “two thirds done.”
The really sad part? I’ve read the book. It’s not that great. I don’t meant to be rude, the book is what it is — a first-time author’s first attempt. But he’s spent 6 years (and counting) on a book that won’t be good when (if) he ever publishes. What he (and most other people) don’t realize is that his 2nd book will be better…if he ever gets there.
If you begin before you think you’re ready, you’ll achieve more success than 95% of others.
Why? Because most people are perfectionists who take years to produce a “piece of art” that’s, frankly, mediocre. Their 2nd attempt will be better, their 3rd attempt even more so.
But if you never publish your first attempt, you’ll never get there.
“Life shrinks and expands in direct proportion to your willingness to assume risks.” -Casey Neistat
Spectacular Failure = Spectacular Success
“Spectacular failure is the secret ingredient to your ultimate success.”
-Leslie Odom Jr.
I’ve been writing for over 6 years now.
Last year, I gave my first webinar. It was a training on writing, with a sales pitch for a big writing course I had spent the past 4 months creating.
I was expecting huge numbers; of RSVP’s, of viewers, of sales. I remember going on a bike ride with my younger brother and bragging, “Yeah, I think I’ll see $10,000 for my first launch, but $20,000 would be better.”
You want to know how many sales I had? You wanna know?
I was crushed. Like, take-a-long-look-and-reexamine-your-life crushed.
Turns out, I was a terrible salesman who talked too fast and didn’t really provide any value.
Humbled, I dropped the price by 80% and weakly organized another webinar. No more bragging this time. Hell, if I made one sale, I’d be ecstatic.
And you know what? That’s exactly what I made. 1 sale. (Her name was Anna and I’m truly grateful for her business).
A few webinars later, I raised the price again, and had a few more sales. And a few more. A few months later, I made more in sales that month than any month working at my old high-level desk job.
“This is the process by which wealth is accumulated; first in small sums, then in larger ones as a man learns and becomes more capable.” -George S. Clason
Spectacular failure = spectacular success.
The reason you’ll succeed? Most people’s first drafts are terrible. That’s OK. Their 2nd draft will be a little better — if they ever bother to get there.
“To improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” -Epictetus
Your Success is Determined By How Much Embarrassment You Can Take.
“Success is a direct result of the number of experiments you perform.” -Michael Simmons
When you give in to embarrassment, you instantly squash your progress and momentum. You get stuck.
Embarrassment is a momentum-killer and a dream-killer. When you let your fear of being laughed at override your pursuit of success, your dreams die and you give your power to deadbeats who have no business commenting on your life.
“Successful, happy, well-emotionally-balanced people don’t have time to shit on somebody else.” -Sean Stephenson
In his book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss described several strategies he used to overcome his fear of embarrassment. He would intentionally wear ridiculous outfits (clown shoes, light-up neon ties, oversized pink blazers, etc.) to parties and gatherings so he could embrace his embarrassment.
This allowed him to get over the fear, and then use that confidence to start “crazy” dreams most people called foolish and stupid. (Ferriss is now a wildly successful entrepreneur, investor, author, and hosts several of his own TV shows).
Your success is determined by how much embarrassment you can take before you quit and give in to the laughter.
Look, getting laughed at sucks. I hate that feeling. I’m not going to lie and say it won’t bother you.
But you can still move forward in the face of jeering laughter and mean jokes.
Wrote best-selling author and speaker Dr. David Schwartz: “All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second Class Street.” Much of the thinking around you is small-minded. Many people live on pain-avoidance and fear-avoidance, and encourage others to dwell in that mindset, too.
These are not the voices you should listen to. I’ve learned that every worthy pursuit — to be an actor, a creative, to write a book, start a business, run a marathon, change careers, move abroad, etc. — is met with an abundance of criticism, doubters, and naysayers.
If you give in to your embarrassment, odds are you’ll never achieve your goals.
Don’t be embarrassed.
“The more bold you are, the more rejection you’ll experience.” -Todd Henry
Just Start. More Will Be Revealed To You.
“Success comes from expanding your frontiers in every direction — creatively, financially, spiritually, and physically.” -James Altucher
When I first started writing, I thought the only thing I needed to be good as was, well…writing. If I could write good blogs, everything would fall into place.
But after I learned how to write well (4.5 years into it), I realized just how many more tools and skills I needed to master:
- Email lists
- Online courses
- Coaching packages
- Personal branding
- Article pitching
- Book launches
And a million other things.
More will be revealed to you…but only if you actually do the work and go. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck sitting in level 1 when there are 99 more levels to go.
Look — just start. Do what you have to do today. When you do, you can rest assured that thousands of other people didn’t do that today. They were too busy re-editing another section of their book they’ve been writing for 6 years.
This is what is meant by the phrase, “move fast and break things.” You have a lot to learn. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
Beginning Before You’re Ready Expands Your Mindset By 100x
“At the moment when we accept our weaknesses and stop deciding to grow, we’re the BEST we’re ever going to be. It’s all downhill from there.” -Ramit Sethi
Life is a constant cycle from amateur to master, beginner to professional. You have been learning new skills since you were a baby — how to talk, walk, do algebra, ask a girl out, pay your taxes.
Sadly, most people stop this cycle very early, usually shortly after college.
The truth is, you need many more skills and much more knowledge if you ever want to achieve your biggest goals. A Super Bowl-winning quarterback needs to know more than how to throw a ball well; they need to master brand management, contract negotiations, nutrition, strengths training, and leading a team.
You’ll never get those skills if you don’t begin before you feel ready.
Beginning before you’re ready will expand your mindset by 100x and teach you things 95% of your competition doesn’t even know they don’t know.
What sets me apart from most other writers isn’t my talent. There are far more talented writers out there.
What sets me apart is that I’m not afraid to be embarrassed, try new experiments, and fail forward.
It sucks getting laughed at.
But it sucks more to realize you’re in the same place you were last year with no progress.
Start before you feel ready.
At a writing conference, a best-selling author once compared writing great content like turning on a dirty, rusty faucet.
When you first turn on the faucet, the water is brown and dirty. It’s gross.
This is where most people stop and turn the faucet off.
But if you keep the water running, that dirty brown water will run out and give way to crystal clear, refreshing water.
You have a lot of failures, embarrassments, and mistakes to get through before you reach that col, refreshing water.
Turn the faucet on, and leave it running. Even when it’s hard and people are laughing.
It’ll pay off soon.
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