I think one of the most satisfying experiences is getting good.
I know some talk about “enjoying the journey”, “the trip is half the fun”, or “stop and smell the roses”. But what I mean is more than that.
Getting good and enjoying it.
More than “self-improvement”. That implies a negative that must be corrected. Getting good is more about making choices to achieve something and the delight in discovering how it’s done.
What I find is there is so much potential to create something meaningful in my life. There are so many choices. No reason to lack something to accomplish.
There’s power and magic in realizing today I’m doing something that yesterday didn’t exist.
Just a couple of years ago I decided that out of all the things I can do, all the things I could do, what I really wanted to do was write professionally. Writing is a passion that had been, until that moment, like a long lost lover that I’d occasionally fantasize about but never really thought I’d connect with again.
What happened was exactly what I’d said I’d never let happen. Life shaped my decisions. I thought I was making the decisions. But those decisions had already been predetermined by others’ expectations or what I assumed were others’ expectations.
A role was assigned to me based on some decisions I made without realizing others were using them to limit me. But I did my best to overachieve anything handed to me without regard to whether it suited my life.
Sure I spent a few days lamenting the waste of perfectly good potential. Then I realized, well, at least I know one thing. I like getting good at something. The trick was to find that something I WANTED to do.
I suppose when I look back at it all I wasn’t ready to pursue my passion earlier; otherwise, I wouldn’t have let so many things get in the way. Plus I didn’t understand the joy of getting good. Back then I had one thought—the goal of being a professional writer. For some reason I thought it would just happen. I acknowledged it would take hard work but I wasn’t defining hard work in any way that was hard. I was impatient to achieve that goal. I didn’t want to get behind in achieving which meant in the end I never really actively worked towards that goal. I think I never had anything to say in terms of writing because it seemed impossible to reach the goal as I had defined it. I was stuck wondering what would be the point of all that hard work and I didn’t achieve my goal?
I wrote sporadically, never understanding the pleasure of getting good.
I thought it was all about waking up one day having accomplished my goal and discovering the secret key that guaranteed success.
What I know now is if I had somehow achieved that goal so easily it may have been great and wonderful, and maybe full of fame and fortune opportunities and the ever elusive chance to use the F-word at everyone who ever doubted me. BUT the vacuum left after reaching it would have been overwhelming.
The goal doesn’t fill you but getting good does.
I so wanted to rush being good at writing (or art, my other love) and being an impatient perfectionist I did nothing towards getting it. Instead I filled my creative spirit with tasks, projects and work that mimicked what I longed to do. I danced around it.
Fortunately, those skills and traits useful for a professional writer revealed themselves in whatever I occupied myself with at the moment. I’d be asked to review a new piece of legislation and rewrite it in English. Or I’d be tapped to head up a celebration or fundraiser because of my attention to detail all the while keeping an eye on the big picture.
Maybe I needed to be diverted awhile in order to become a better writer. If I had forced it earlier I cringe at what I would have inflicted on the world. Also, I would have learned that I was a truly awful writer and would have believed that the rest of my life.
Fast forward to now.
I can’t get enough of writing. I haven’t sold anything yet. So what. I’m filling my days with getting good. No longer do I see that as a burden. It feels good. I read—books, scripts, blogs. I study and apply it. I watch tv or movies. I look for story in everyday events.
The whole world is open. Beckoning.
It’s all part of getting good.