Learning, growing, and kicking ass is a process, and looking stupid is a part of that process.
Let’s be honest. You weren’t always this sexy. You weren’t always this ripped. You weren’t always this good in bed. You weren’t always this smart.
If you’re completely honest, you looked like a complete idiot when you first started doing anything you now call yourself “good” at.
However, as we get older, it’s as if our ability to look stupid seems to weaken. More and more, I hear close friends of mine telling me of things they want to do but don’t.
“No way, I’ll look like such a dumbass.”
“I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
“Everybody’s going to laugh at me.”
But here’s the thing. Failing and looking stupid is an essential part of learning and growing. If we are to zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture, we’ll understand that embarrassing ourselves is simply the stepping-stone towards greatness. All of the sudden, the phase of stupidity seems more bearable.
We as adults mistakenly believe the initial incompetence and embarrassment of a new undertaking will last forever. It’s as if every time you summon the courage to do something new, there’s a big black hole waiting to suck you in. It also doesn’t help that all your friends are there with their smartphones, ready to document your utter failure and laugh at you for the rest of your life.
Step One: If your friends are doing that, then you shouldn’t be friends with them anymore.
Step Two: Unfortunately, people find a lot of joy at the expense of others (which is further exacerbated by the seeming permanence of smartphones and the Internet), but that comes with the territory. Just remember that this momentary relapse in gracefulness is not a reflection of the entire you, and it need not be taken personally.
Far too many people fail to grow into higher versions of themselves because they don’t want to look stupid when they are merely inexperienced – at least in that very moment in time. Out of the fear of looking stupid, many people, surprisingly, stay stupid. The reality is you probably do look a bit silly doing anything for the first time. If you held a mirror up and got a good look at yourself, I’m sure you’d have a good laugh as well. Find solace in the fact that looking anything but graceful when venturing out into new territory is absolutely normal. Embarrassing yourself is just a small, necessary step toward a much longer process of growth and wisdom. If anything, looking stupid is simply a prerequisite to totally kicking ass.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Remember, you’ve stumbled, crawled and fell over and over again before you learned how to walk. That didn’t stop you. You couldn’t even write your own name correctly at one point in your life. That didn’t stop you. You were terrible in bed once. That didn’t stop you. Why should anything else stop you now?
Go out and look stupid.
by Jason Lam