Anything worth doing is worth doing… Poorly

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When I was a sophomore in High School, my English teacher introduced himself to the class for the first time. First, matters of protocol. How he preferred to be addressed; the level of mutual respect he expected from his students. All in all.. Boring and basic stuff you expect from any moderately skilled teacher. Then he said something that would have a lasting impact on my life.

He said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”, he continued by asking us if we understood what he meant. I remember thinking to myself “You messed up the saying, it’s ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing right’!”. But I, like many of my classmates, stared stupefied. “How often do you do something perfectly right, the very first try?”, he asked the class, “Not many, I’d be willing to bet.”, and he went on talking about the importance of failure and the fears that typically accompany it. He spoke at length about how he’d rather see us try and see us fail than to see us not try at all. I wish I could tell you that I knew in that moment the true meaning of the words. But his phrase stuck with me “Poorly”. The reversal of the saying made it stand out in my head and I’ve remembered it ever since. More important, as I matured it was something that helped me get over the apprehension of trying new things. Failing, learning, improving, and mastering. Well, maybe not that mastering part. The point is, nobody starts out being the best at… anything.

I don’t really have an overarching point in this post except that maybe someone else will benefit from being told that it’s okay to try… and fail.

That’s It.

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