Nothing kills enthusiasm quite like negative feedback. It can come from friends or from failure, and many success stories die young because people don’t know how to handle it.
Consider this example.
You wake up an hour earlier every morning for a month and use the time to write your first short story. You push past the writer’s block, get your thoughts on paper, and edit away all the mistakes you can find. Finally, you’re ready to reveal your masterpiece, so you share a copy with your friend, a book editor.
The next day, your friend calls. You’re tingling with anticipation, preparing for the praise that’s surely on its way. Instead, you’re dealt a crushing blow. “This isn’t very good. It’s bad really.”
What do you do next?
Many people would find a new dream. They gave writing their best shot, right? They did the work, poured themselves into the story. It just wasn’t good enough. They just weren’t good enough.
While this reaction is common, it’s also absurd. Who in their right mind would expect their first attempt at fiction to impress a professional editor? When was your first try at anything a success?
To maintain your enthusiasm in the face of negative feedback, you must first distinguish between your performance and your potential.
Bad performances say very little about your potential. Usually, all they say is you need more practice.
On the surface, this is obvious. Walking, talking, reading, driving a car — these are all learned skills. And isn’t the point of school to help you improve at subjects such as math, English, science, and history?
But when it comes to our big meaningful goals, the ones we long to achieve, we often forget about the empowering effect of practice.
The truth is everyone is naturally bad at everything, and in the pursuit of big goals, your current level of skill will be quickly proven insufficient.
So if you worry you might not be skilled enough, relax. You aren’t skilled enough. No one is naturally. And that’s okay. You have the power to improve.
The question isn’t “What are you good at?”
It’s “What do you want to be good at?”
This is a modified excerpt from QuitterProof: The 5 Beliefs of Highly Successful People.
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Do you have big goals you long to achieve? The biggest threat to your success is simply giving up.
Become a finisher with my short book QuitterProof: The 5 Beliefs of Highly Successful People.
Kyle Young is helping creative people achieve big goals that matter.