I once believed that those who were really good at something like a particular sport, school subject, or public speaking were born that way. It took years to realize I was completely wrong. That assumption was incredibly naive from the start.
Certainly people have different aptitudes for things. However, I’m not convinced as to whether this presumption has more to do with various school abilities tests or reality. Had I believed in my test scores, I would have never, ever graduated from college and especially with honors. And I would have never excelled in the corporate world, let alone got in.
When I learned about the mistakes, blunders, and failures of some well-known people who had achieved extraordinary things, it was very liberating and motivating. I learned that the difference between those who accomplish great things is their willingness and determination to take action in spite of their fears and failures.
One of my most profound first-hand experiences in discovering how people learn to get really good at something was when I starting learning the art of public speaking. I had severe anxiety about public speaking. I thought I had it worse than anyone else. I could not avoid public speaking because my corporate job required it more and more as a rose up the ranks.
So I took every class and course I could find including the brilliant Dale Carnegie public speaking and human relations course. I also read many his books. In addition, I joined a Toastmasters group, which made a huge difference as well.
Billionaire Warren Buffett was terrified of public speaking so he took the same Dale Carnegie course I as did. He considers completion of that course as one of his greatest accomplishments.
Here’s the lesson. As I watched certain people deliver mesmerizing speeches I thought, “There is no way this person has ever felt fear. They had to have been born with public speaking skills.” When I later spoke with some of them I was shocked when they told me about the extent of their fear and awkwardness during early speeches. I was also blown away when people would tell me after a speech I’d given that I looked confident and relaxed. “Not so!” I’d tell them. I eventually got close to that, but as Dale Carnegie teaches, “Our goal is not to eliminate the butterflies but to get them to fly in formation.” The point being: The butterflies give us valuable energy and by getting them to fly in formation we put it to the best use.
I still vividly remember the first time I had to attend a large meet and greet activity before an important business meeting. I was anxious and awkward as can be. After a few dozen of them I became a relaxed and confident pro.
How about big goals? When I started learning about website design, HTML, cascading style sheets (CSS), e-commerce, search engine optimization (SEO), and later WordPress and blogging, I was overwhelmed. But because I found the lifestyle it allowed so appealing I was determined. Even so, looking back, my early websites were horrible. And I make countless mistakes because of my lack of knowledge in how to generate traffic (visitors) and many other things.
From the beginning of my website and blogging career, I made another seemingly impossible goal. Learn how to do everything myself so that I did not have to rely on anyone or any company to design, change, or operate my websites. After years of 10-12 hour days, lots of stumbling, and sometimes intense intricate work like coding, I eventually got there.
I believe anything can be accomplished if a person has these mindsets.
- Strong, passionate desire.
- Clear vision of what they want.
- Unrelenting determination fueled by their desire and vision.
- Willingness to do whatever it takes.
- Willingness to do it for as long it takes.
- Willingness to go toward in spite of fears.
- Willingness to accept, learn from, and quickly move pass mistakes.
- Determination to never quit.
- Unbreakable self-love.
The method is simple. The pathway is clear. The only challenge is breaking through fears and false assumptions.