The Bad of Being Better
“For everything that you now do well, one time, you did it poorly.”
I remember long ago hearing this reminder to persevere in the face of early failure. I brought it to mind as a younger man when I was trying to learn to do manual muscle tests, serve a tennis ball, hang wall paper and learn DOS.
It is so easy to think “I’ll never get it” when nothing is automatic, everything is clumsy and awkward, and in the process of trying to improve your efficiency, you are, for days or weeks, less efficient and more unproductive than ever.
Remembering to remember those times at the low end of the learning curve has actually helped to make more recent episodes of novice frustration and perplexity less of a bitter pill. I know, if I am patient and not too hard on myself, there will come a time when I’ll look back and remember how hard that thing seemed back then that comes to me now without thinking–with expertise and a certain grace and ease.
Even so, when you’re here in the middle of the muddle–like I am this week–it seems such a onerous burden when things get worse because you’re making things better.
It makes matters temporarily even worse here in the ankle-deep end of the pool of knowledge, that I’m one of those sorts that actually reads the manual from cover to cover. I have a stack of them all of a sudden this week–almost all software and electronics related.
They’re not critical to any particular client or job, only to my own self-improvement. When I’m done I’ll be better at several techy “activities of daily living.” If I hang in here, every day I’ll add more mental muscle, more facility and coordination, more power towards harnessing the full capability of my tools, and the use of those tools toward doing well something that is meaningful to me.
But just now, being better is a pain in the rump.