Advice for Beginners

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ira-glass-quoteI just stumbled upon this quote. It was said by Ira Glass, and it was one of those things that immediately sang to my heart. (You can click on it to read the enlarged version of it.)

I’m quite a creative person, and I’m also a ridiculous perfectionist. In truth, this is the worst way to be sometimes. I used to dance when I was younger, and I was often envious of two types of dancers. The ones who were just breathtakingly amazing dancers, and the ones who were quite honestly terrible, but they still danced with their heart. I saw these amazing dancers who had been dancing since they could walk and I wanted to be like that. Having only started dancing in junior high I was no match for them, but I felt the music in my bones, in my pulse, in every fiber. Every atom in my body longed to express what the music made me feel. So I’d get up and I’d dance – and it was a mess. To be honest, it was okay. It was average, but I was a perfectionist, I wanted to dance as deftly as the girls who had been doing it all their lives, but I wanted to do it in a manner that spoke to people’s souls. And I couldn’t, so I quit.

There have been a lot of things in my life that I’ve attempted but when after a few tries and not getting it right away I’d give up because I didn’t want to look like this fool who just kept doing something even though they were clearly terrible at it. In psychology we studied this phenomenon; it’s called The Spotlight Effect. The Spotlight Effect is this tendency that we have that when we are uncomfortable with ourselves we think everyone can see it. High school girls suffer the worst from this. Do you remember that time that you were applying your eyeliner and you noticed for the first time that your eyes are a different size? Now suddenly you’re self-conscious about these two things that are unevenly placed smack dab on the front of your face like neon-lights screaming “MY FACE IS ALL WONKY!! LOOK HOW WEIRD MY EYES ARE!” Well, that was always me. If I wasn’t particularly good at something off the bat I felt as if everyone knew it, and everyone was judging me for it. I didn’t stop to think not once that maybe everyone else is feeling the same way.

So, I wanted to share Mr. Glass’ brilliant, encouraging, true words of wisdom with you in hopes that it will change your life for the better. Take these words and know that whatever struggle you’re going through, or however terrible of a job you think you’re doing anybody who is great at anything went through that same struggle. Do not give up. You are amazing; you just haven’t figured it out yet.

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