My entire life could be summed up in the phrase "fake it until you make it". I don’t know what I’m doing and I’ve learned a secret about everyone else, neither do they.
I’ve recently learned this about parenting (I am not a parent). Most parents are never really ready to become “parents”. Yet you and I are here. How does that work? Well, they just threw themselves into that role (willing or unwillingly) and did the best they could.
That right there is how I want to live my life. Throwing myself into various roles and situations I’m vastly under-equipped for and coming out the other end on top.
The greatest worst decision I made in high school
My freshman year of high school I decided to referee soccer at my local rec department. I hated every minute of it. Not even joking. There are few worse things in life than being in the middle of a field and having 30-50 year old men and women scream at you. The turnover was crazy. Most people quit after the first or second season.
I went on to do it for 6 years.
I dreaded the start of every season. Why? Why would any sane person willingly choose this? Because I know I needed it. I was a very indecisive, passive, and non-confrontation young man. Still am.
You know what reffing upwards of 10 games a week will do to you? It will force you to learn how to make quick decisions, actively put out fires as you seem them start to kindle, and confront people who have no idea what they’re talking about.
I went on to referee intramural, JV, varsity, and even adult leagues. Hated them too, but I got better and better and it shaped my character in a way that simply reading how to be more decisive and confrontation couldn’t.
That’s what I'm challenging you to do. Throw yourself into roles and situations that you're ill-equipped for. Ones that scare you to death. Ask ridiculous favors from people for public speaking opportunities, management level jobs, or responsibilities that will push you beyond your limits.
I was vastly ill-equipped to make judgment calls for soccer games and handle the aftermath of them. But now I am and it’s translated into every other area of my life as well.
A lot of this has to do with self-fulfilling prophecies which I think have a huge impact on where we end up in life. If people tell you your entire life you’re unintelligent and will never amount to anything, you start telling yourself that. You start believing it. You never risk any opportunities because why would you? You would fail anyway, right?
On the other hand, if you’re told you can achieve anything, be whatever you want to be, you take more chances. Doesn’t mean you don’t fail, but maybe one of those chances work out and you press forward. We need a healthy dose of both. A humble arrogance.
Our mindset should be that we can achieve anything we put our mind to, but that we’d still be at the very bottom if it wasn’t for the people and opportunities we’ve been given.
Put yourself in opportunities that scare you today and your future self will thank you.