Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trying is the first step toward failure.

I read a book awhile back that talked about the differences between kids who were told they were smart and kids who told they worked hard.    Using experiments they discovered that kids who had the idea reinforced that their successes were "because you're smart" had a more difficult time working through difficult tasks than ones that were told their success was because they worked hard. 

As someone who spent his childhood classified as "gifted" and "smart", this hit home.   I certainly worked hard in school, loading up on advanced classes, putting in lots of hours on homework, papers, and more.   But certainly in my head every single time I hit any snag I wondered why I wasn't smart enough to zip past it, and found my desire to give up great each and every time.  

Reading this book at the age of 38, I realized how much of my life was ruled by the idea that I was smart, and not that I worked hard.   I seldom equated my successes with hard work, even though there were plenty of instances where the two matched up, from weight loss to getting a full tuition scholarship to college.     Instead, I've dwelled on the failures, which have mostly stemmed from giving up too easy, or assuming that the fact that I am/was/iz "gifted" means doors should magically fall open. 

The truth is that as I've thought about becoming more successful and living my dreams, I realize I've spent most of my life being Homer Simpson, thinking that trying is the first step toward failure.   I never seem to realize that failure is the first step to success. 

I say this several weeks after saying to myself, "I need to start writing again."    Here I sit again having not made that first step.  Why?   The book could suck.   Or I could hit a wall.    Or I could write something that friends and family don't like.    Or I could waste a lot of time on nothing.    Or maybe I'll hate it. 

All excuses.   All lame.  

What about you?  What's holding you back?   Is trying the first step toward failure for you?