This an open letter to the countless iterations of complaining I hear from myself or others (mostly others) every day. Whether it’s about his fitness, his awkwardness with women, his dissatisfaction with his job, or lack of energy, I get tired of his inability to not want to change himself. The friction he faces in improving himself is knowing that he won’t be good at it or he will fail a lot more when he decides to try. The fear of failure is something we all have at some point in our lives, so I feel that what I write in this letter will apply to those that are having that same fear. At the end of it I hope to change some minds and inspire others to see failure as a source for growth and embrace the suck that inevitably comes with trying new things.
The root cause of the issue is that your mindset is broken. Your current mindset is that you are below the skill level of those around you and that there is no point in trying because you will lose to them. This is not the way to look at “competition”. Instead, look at them as “masters” and “teachers” that you can use to your advantage. A man can only be with one woman at a time, therefore whatever is left (and trust me there are 7 billion minus 1 left) is yours for the taking. The huge guy at your gym didn’t start out that way. No one did. We all came out the womb with little to no muscle mass and went years without lifting more than our bodyweight. What we eventually came to know is that to get stronger we must be ok with being uncomfortable. Training in the gym is and never will be easy, even to the most elite athletes. You must change your mindset to embrace the discomfort of talking to people, of putting something heavy in your hands or on your back. If we stopped at where we knew we were going to succeed we would not be near where we want to be. Personally, I wouldn’t have attempted to play baseball. I wouldn’t have gotten into college. I wouldn’t have been able to move across the country as part of my job.
Change sucks. Physical change, location change, relationship change, it doesn’t matter. You know what else sucks? Living in the past and letting that (and other people) control what you can control. We have the distinct ability to decide to control what is within our sphere. We choose who we hang out with, whether to talk to that attractive guy/girl, to take that job overseas, or whether we go to the gym even though we’ve been working for 12 hours in the sun. Sometimes we are given a shovel to attack life with, other times we’re given a spoon. The key is to keep moving dirt regardless. Embrace the suck. The loads don’t get any lighter because we keep increasing them as we get better. And life is a great teacher as it only throws enough that we can handle. It takes a lot for us to break. A LOT. I believe that the capacity of the mind is our greatest ally in being able to do the things we never thought we could be able to do. All it takes is getting over the inherent fear of the unknown, the discomfort that comes with experience and failure.
The biggest question I have for you is…
What are you afraid of by not trying?
The possibilities of deciding to try or not try are simple. By not trying you know the answer. By trying you have an infinite amount of possibilities, in which many arrive in success and others in failure. We don’t have a time machine to go back and re-do everything, but we do have the benefit of experiencing the pain or pleasure of what happens when we try. regardless of the outcome we get to learn and by failing we are closer to learning what works. through consistent effort and intentional “tinkering” we are able to accelerate our growth to become more perfect beings. Wisdom is a long sought after virtue, and is distinguished from knowledge (of which google can help expand) by being able to use what you know and what you experience to make further assumptions and models of the world.
The great thing about your mental model of the world is that it is always changing, improving, and able to be exploited for your benefit. It’s amazing how much and how little we know about the way we think, what we do, how our body works, etc. In that perspective, every obstacle is an opportunity to become greater than we once were. We are a species of action and adaptation; there’s a reason why we’ve survived through time.