When we first started building SETT, I'd sometimes get asked what I was working on. Saying it was a new blogging platform was easy, but when pressed for details on what made it different, I had a tougher time.
It's not that it wasn't different, or that I didn't know how it was different. I'd get too much into the particulars one time, and then the next time, careful not to get too detailed, I'd give a really vague explanation that didn't make much sense.
This sounds like a minor thing, but it was uncomfortable for me. We had this idea that I thought was really great, and I thought we were doing a good job implementing it, but my explanation always came out jumbled.
I was terrible at pitching, and I desperately wanted not to be terrible.
If you really don't want to go West, you can drive East. But if you really don't want to be terrible at something, you have to go directly towards being terrible first. Only then can you get through it and get far away.
I sort of realized this, so I took every opportunity to explain SETT to people. I was terrible at first, and I'm still not very good at it now, but slogging through being terrible for so long helped me get better.
Now I try to embrace being terrible. It's hard to push aside an ego big enough to think wearing a chain of one's own name is a good idea, but repeating the process enough has created a link in my brain between being being terrible and eventually not becoming terrible.
The latest thing I've been trying to learn is ballet. I have very little grace, worse balance than I thought, and do not typically "express myself with my body". In other words, I'm really terrible at ballet.
But I try to lean into it. I stand in the front of the class, try to go first whenever we're broken down into groups, and practice the moves during lulls in class when the teacher is changing music or something. I know I'm terrible and that I look ridiculous, but a small part of me also knows that only through embracing being terrible will I ever get good.
I saw this a lot when I taught pickup. Pickup is a direct assault on the ego, forcing you to give up all pretense that you'd be good with girls if you "just tried". Coming to grips with your own deficiencies is difficult.
Some students would deal with it really well-- much better than I was able to. They knew they sucked, but they'd live with it and go approach anyway. They'd do terribly and then go try again somewhere else. It's like they instinctively knew that they couldn't be terrible forever, so they may as well get it out of the way.
I remember one student I had who was just totally unwilling to be terrible. He bragged about his high standards that prohibited him from approaching just anyone. A failed approach meant that the girl was a bitch. I don't know the guy anymore, but I bet he never got good. If you're not willing to take the first step on the journey, you won't get very far.
This all sounds obvious, but I find it helpful to remind myself. The ego can be a powerful opponent, but reframing the terrible phase as a necessary step towards decency, or even greatness, helps.
Photo is the SF skyline. I am running critically low on blog photos. Must travel or at least walk around SF with a camera soon!