How many times do we stop ourselves doing something before we even start? Have you ever said something like, “I can’t throw a frisbee like that”? How about, “I can’t cook that meal”? Or, “There’s no chance I’ll get that job”. What about this, specifically for the writers out there; “I won’t be able to write a book”?
There is a simple word I have started adding to the end of statements just like these. Just one word that helps me overcome the obstacles preventing me from trying new things. It has to be accompanied by a mindset with a willingness to change, to believe I can do what I set my mind to, if I put the work in. You want to know what that one word is?
Here you go: “Yet”.
Let’s try adding this word to the end of each of those statements from the first paragraph of thus post.
1. “I can’t throw a frisbee like that, yet.”
When we try a new sport, we won’t be as good as we want from the first time we play. It takes effort to improve. I’ve been lucky in my life that when it comes to trying a new sport, people around me have been supportive and encouraging. It helps to be reminded that when we are learning it’s not always about the end result, but our attitude. We might have to be ok with our current level of capability for a while, to remember it’s not always about improving our technical skills but improving the way we play. When I dislocated eight bones in my wrist I had to play ultimate frisbee by throwing with my weaker hand for six months. It was frustrating going from being able to throw whatever I wanted, to barely being able to complete a pass. But with hard work I can now confidently say I am an ambidextrous thrower of discs.
2. “I can’t cook a meal like that, yet.”
I used to dislike cooking and avoid it whenever possible. Specifically I would offer to do the dishes and clean the kitchen if it meant I wouldn’t have to cook. That’s changed recently. My sister watched the most recent season of Master Chef Australia, and I would often join her in watching it. Many of the things they cooked were complex dishes with ingredients I didn’t even recognise let alone know how to use. But, some of the dishes were recognisable as things my parents cooked at home when we were younger. Maybe not in exactly the same way, but I knew them. Listening to the judges and contestants talk about the dishes and asking my sister questions helped me learn more about preparation of ingredients and what goes well with what. I’m never going to be a ‘Master Chef’ myself(yet!) but if I set my mind to something, and do a bit of research, I can make some tasty meals. And the rest of the time I can simply enjoy the process of preparing food for myself and friends – even if it is a bit simple!
3. “There’s no chance I’ll get that job, yet.”
You’ve got to be in to win. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. We won’t want every job we find, and we won’t be the most suitable candidate for every position we want, but if we don’t apply for a position of course we won’t get it! If we write a forgettable cover letter using ‘copy and paste’, we probably aren’t improving our chances. If we take the time to find the right vacancies, get to know who we’d be working with, and put the effort into writing a good cover letter, we’ll improve our chances considerably. It’s a tough gig applying for jobs, and can feel like a full-time job itself. And if we’re looking for a new job while we already have one it can be like working overtime. But we can find a suitable job, maybe one we think we won’t get, if we put in the effort. You’re worth the effort.
4. “I won’t be able to write a book, yet.”
During my teenage years I started writing three different books. I would get just over thirty pages in and the little voice telling me I could never write a book would kick in. I would lose momentum, start listening to the little voice in my head more than God, and I’d give up. For whatever reason I wasn’t ready to finish writing a book, yet. Now, sixteen years after I made my first attempt at writing a book I can say I’ve finished my first draft of my first novel. Writing those words sounds unreal. It has been a lot of work. And there is a lot more to go before I’ll be comfortable submitting the work to publishers, or I attempt to publish it myself, but I have written a book. Now there’s a new statement I have to remind myself to add a word to.
“I could never be a published author. Yet.”Hamish Thornton
Hard work and self belief go a long way, but not all the way. Providing an uplifting presence to those around us helps spur positive action too. People are willing to help if they know how, and we are willing to accept the support. When I’m struggling to break out of negative thought cycles I offer up a prayer to God. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but He finds a way to give me the strength to put in the hard work.
What are some things you really want to do, but aren’t able to, yet? How can you organise your time and effort to make them possible?
Keep on keeping on being awesome. Peace to you, dear readers.
Cover image by Skitterphoto on Pexels.