Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone talk about wanting to do something they really like, but then follow up with the statement, “but I’m just no good at it!” After probing a little deeper, I often come to find out that they have never even tried it before, or only have tried it a couple of times and had a difficult time doing it, so they stopped! I find that when it comes to doing something new, if you are associated with people who do it really well, there is a self-imposed expectation that you should be able to pick something up the first time and have some level of aptitude or achievement higher than we do.
If it is an instrument, we should be able to make a nice sound and play a few chords or notes the first time. If it is a sport, we should be able to throw that ball well or catch it…maybe make a basket the first time. When it comes to our spiritual life, I should be able to understand what I am reading and it make sense…but I just can’t get where to start or what these words mean. I should be able to memorize that verse the first time I read it, but I can read it 10 times and walk away and barely remember 2 words of it! Whatever it is, if we aren’t able to do it well enough the first time, we give up. And sometimes, knowing we aren’t going to be able to do it well the first time, we don’t even try!
I was driving to work the other morning listening to a Zig Ziglar podcast and I heard a quote from Zig that I had been feeling for years but didn’t know how to say it as well as he had.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–until you can learn to do it well.” – Zig Ziglar
I couldn’t agree more! If something is worth doing than do it. But give yourself permission to do it poorly for a while. It is often quoted that 10,000 hours of focused practice can make someone an expert. They key is not the 10,000 hours, it is in the focused practice. You can practice doing something poorly for 10,000 hours and be an expert at doing it poorly, or you can practice 10,000 hours, continually making adjustments and learning new techniques, and eventually you will learn to do whatever it is well. This applies to our marriages, our parenting, our jobs, our spiritual life, and everything else we find worth doing. And by pushing through and learning to do it well, what would be the benefits to yourself and others? You might teach your kids to persevere, open up new career opportunities, grow in your spiritual life, develop a leadership skill that impacts others, or simply rest in the satisfaction or learning a new skill. Maybe God will use that skill to open up other doors for his purposes.
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–until you can learn to do it well. Give yourself permission to do it poorly, as you discipline yourself to do it well.