“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” ——John Steinbeck
I don’t know anyone who’s first draft is perfect. Every work of art takes place in stages. Most people see the final product—not knowing the countless revisions, sleepless nights, & additional hands that went in to making something “perfect“.
“The first draft of anything is shit.” ——Ernest Hemingway
This same principle can be applied to the way we live our lives. I often find myself being held back from beginning new adventures & endeavors—for the fear of not being ready.
“I don’t have the skills yet.”
“I might look like a fool.”
“I’ll probably fail.”
If we live our lives with this sort of attitude—it’s no wonder so many of us fall short of our dreams.
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” ——Marcus Aurelius
And so, I urge you (and me) to not only put yourself out into the world—but in fact—seek out the struggles that may test your abilities.
“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.” ——David Goggins
So how do you begin?
You start with a crappy first draft of yourself.
You Need A Bad First Draft Of Yourself
“The willingness to be a fool is the precursor to transformation.” ——Jordan Peterson
This is an idea that I got from a Jordan Peterson lecture. You start by doing something badly. It dosen’t matter that things aren’t perfect—what matters is that you’ve begun.
Let’s use weight lifting as an analogy.
I started lifting regularly a little over a year ago. At first I had to build the routine. I didn’t care that I wasn’t following my plan exactly. What mattered was that I was showing up every day to lift heavy things.
Soon, my time in the gym became a habit and I was able to add more exercises to my workout. Now I’ve begun focusing on my diet—in order to increase the benefits from all the lifting.
I’m still not perfect—but I’m making progress. I’m working towards an aim.
“Aim continually at Heaven while you work diligently on Earth. Attend fully to the future, in that manner, while attending fully to the present. Then you have the best chance of perfecting both.” ——Jordan Peterson
We start with this bad first draft of ourselves—but we want to improve. We need a goal, so we aim at something. The higher the aim, the better.
Because why not aim at the highest possible outcome?
We don’t know what we are capable of doing if we set our will to something.
The higher our aims—the more room we have for improvement.
Bigger targets are also associated with higher levels of positive emotions. We feel a greater sense of accomplishment when we are moving towards a goal.
How do you know when you’re on the right path?
——You will reach developmental milestones in the direction of your goal.
——Things will start to fall into place, people will give you tools, friends will step in to help.
——Mentors will appear to lead and guide you.
That is why you must make your goals known to the world.
Emphatically Declare Your Intentions
“I said out loud, which is weird but I did. I said, alright, if this is my path, so be it. But, if there is something else that I could apply myself to, that is important for my life, say now or forever hold your peace. And wow, you ask a question out loud and——holy shit.” ——Jeremy Corbell, Aliens & Artists Podcast
This sounds a little like new age woo woo, but there’s actually some evidence to support affirmations. More importantly than affirming one’s self—is the simple act of asking.
Most people don’t ask themselves what their goals are, what they want, what their lives could be like.
Ask yourself, “what would your life be like if it was perfect?”.
In psychotherapy this is called the miracle question. It’s a way for a person to envision what their life could be like if a problem wasn’t present.
What would your life be like if you started with a crappy first draft, you aimed at the highest possibility, and you started moving towards that goal?
Say it out loud. Mean it. Things will start to happen.
“I am not defined by what I do—what I do is defined by what I am.” ——Jeremy Corbell
This blog has been a culmination of several weeks of reading and podcast listening. I tried to grab as many important points & tools that I could and weave them together in an informative way. If you found value in this, please consider following or subscribing to my blog.