How to Get Better…

I learned how to ride a bicycle with older friends, who were kind enough to let me use their bicycle to learn. Their father owned the duplex, and our family was renting the top “apartment”. We didn’t have the money to purchase our own, so when there was an opportunity to learn with them, I seized it.

The first day on the street, after many, many tries, I managed to figure out the balance thing. I was on cloud nine: “I can ride a bike!”.

When I went home, my mind was consumed with the idea of driving a bike again. I needed to taste this feeling once again, and I couldn’t wait for the next day.

So I acted on that idea. While no one was there, I went in the backyard, took one of the bikes, and went on my way.

I didn’t get very far; I took a few strides, and when I thought I was home free, I lost control of this mount on wheels…

Unfortunately for me, there were many cars parked on the street. I smashed into one them, scrapping the paint off of the door, while the owner stood on his front porch watching the scene in disbelief. He was startled. I was in trouble.

As you can imagine, my first experience with the bicycle, left and indelible impression on me.

Fortunately for me, my bike riding skills got better with time. How? With practice. That’s how you get better. You practice—and you don’t quit.

After my dad forked out a couple of hundreds of dollars to pay for the car repairs, my bike riding “career” could have ended right then and there. But I didn’t let that experience cripple me. I was embarrassed—and punished. Nevertheless, I continued learning.

I wonder how many of us have allowed a first bad experience at something to cripple us. Your first experience with public speaking was terrible. So what? You were no Mozart the first time you sat at the piano. So what? You struggled in your first few years as an entrepreneur. So what?

Guess what? Your first experience with walking wasn’t that great either. But how did you get better? You practiced. And now you walk, run, jump, and dance.

You don’t have to become world-class at everything, just as I never became a world-class biker (or “walker” for that matter). However, you can become good enough to be functional and enjoy yourself in the process.

You get better by practicing. And if you’re talented and practice long enough and hard enough, who knows?, you might even become world-class.