Don't Discount the Difficult Things
It is funny when I remember how much I hated Literature at some point in high school. I say it is funny because when I went to university, the same Literature classes were like a life boat in a sea of endless mathematical equations. Given how much I interact with the books I read now, I can’t believe how against the subject I was. However, before I came to love it, I had to start by accepting that I was bad at it and decided that I would become better. My mother always told me that I should focus on the subjects I liked the least. So I did. One day, I walked to my teacher’s office and convinced him to give me his textbook (we weren’t given any, we just read the books and talked in class). I took my time to read through it and found a way to connect with and analyse what I had initially assumed was an esoteric subject matter. I did so well in my final exams that my teacher wanted to contest the markers giving me a 6 instead of a higher 7.
I learnt a lesson, one that I unfortunately do not remember as much as I should. It is okay to struggle or be bad at things. The problem comes when we try to skip the process of getting better or run away from it entirely. Some things will come easier to you than others, but don’t discount the difficult things - pay them the most attention. One day you will realise that you have conquered them. That is growth.
Growth does not happen in a day. It takes time. Different things grow at different rates, but each must run its course. The seed that sprouts first is not better, that is just the time in which it needs to sprout to serve its purpose.
Focus on that which you find most challenging. Don’t rush to overcome the challenge. Take your time. Pace yourself and be consistent. If you remain consistent and you do not give up, you will overcome it eventually.
Enjoy the process of tackling a new challenge. The way to do it is to ignore time. Have a long term view of things and even when you have to deliver in the short term, do not neglect the full journey that leads to mastery.
Skill is not by luck. It will also not be developed in a hurry. Why? Because with mastery comes responsibility and responsibility needs maturity- they both need time and a myriad of experiences to grow.
So let each difficulty excite you. Forget about being scared. The excitement is for all the different ways in which you will grow as a person. Growth is rarely one-dimensional. It maybe that you learn patience first - the art of being patient with yourself as you acquire a new skill. It may be that you need to learn how to communicate your new knowledge to people or think in a certain way or adopt a new perspective. You may not even necessarily be learning anything new, but you may be put in situations that will help you acknowledge and be clear about all that you do know. Knowing is one thing. Learning how to be sure of yourself is another. Whatever it is, embrace the process. Show up to it. Don’t hide or talk yourself out of it. Commit - to showing up and sticking to it. All your efforts and patience with yourself will be worth it.
Even if others may not be patient with you, pay them no mind. You have the power to be patient with yourself - that’s character building. Because one day, someone or some people may try to strong arm you into doing something prematurely. If you have already learnt to be patient in the midst of a racing world, you will be able to stand your ground and be true to yourself. You will know that patience is a time of preparation, not a time of worrying about how much you might be missing out on. And you will be able to do the right thing for yourself at the right time.
Make friends with the challenges in your life
Get comfortable with the feeling of being an amateur - it’s not for long
Be consistent and patient
No one knows when you will get “there”, but if you don’t stop walking in the right direction, you definitely will arrive.
Think about the things you are running away from. Pick one and start chipping away at it!
Have a great weekend filled with lots of patience and determination to master your difficulties.