I just thought of a follow-up to my Advice to Would-Be Writers. Dr. Ray Vath came up with these cool guidelines for life long, long ago, and I’ve always carried them around with me:
1) You have to fail in at least half the things you try or you’ll never know what you’re capable of.
The beginning rule is, TRY. Then, expect to fail a time or two or maybe ten, who knows, but then will come that time when you do succeed and along with that will come a very satisfying self-knowledge you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Also remember, it’s better to live with failure than regret. It’s better to be able to say, “Well, I tried,” than to have to say, “I wonder what would have happened if I’d only tried?”
2) What’s worth doing is worth doing poorly.
I know, the old way of saying this is, What’s worth doing is worth doing well, but look at it this way:
When you first started learning to walk, did you sprint like a champion or did you stumble and look awkward? When you first started learning, oh let’s say the guitar, did you sound terrible and take forever just to form a decent chord, or did you play like Eric Clapton or Andres Segovia?
What’s worth doing is worth doing poorly … and doing poorly … and doing poorly … until you finally catch on. Give yourself time.
3) Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes better.
You know what? Being a perfectionist is more a matter of brittle ego than anything else and you’ll only go through your whole life angry and frustrated. Besides, once you get something perfect, what’s left to strive for? Naw, rejoice in anything you can do better today than you could do yesterday and look forward to doing it better tomorrow. All of life is like that; your chosen craft or art should be the same.
I’ve lived by these little rules and they’ve made my life easier and better. I think they’ll do the same for you.