“The safest way of not being very miserable is not to expect to be very happy.”
Arthur Shopenhauer – German philosopher
We’re all familiar with beginner’s luck.
You play Backgammon for the first time and beat the pants off your opponent – even though you have no clue what you’re doing.
You play Street Fighter II for the first time and demolish your brother despite the fact he’s been working on his special moves for weeks.
You paint your first landscape in a Oil Painting 101 and it’s a masterpiece. Then you paint like a six year old for the rest of the semester.
The Secret Behind Beginner’s Luck
What’s going on here? How can we excel at a skilled activity on our first attempt and then fail right after?
I choose to believe it has something to do with Arthur Shopenhauer’s quote.
When we make a first attempt at something we often expect to fail. Or at least are relatively indifferent to the outcome.
When you play that first game of Backgammon you don’t understand it, you could care less if you win, and you probably expect to lose.
You’re probably starting to imagine how liberating that can be.
Whether you’re starting a business, a 100 day challenge, or writing a novel – one of the most empowering ways to approach the task is to assume you’re about to make garbage.
Of course, when you make garbage the pressure is off.
Tell your friend you’re finally writing an album of original acoustic folk ballads and it’s going to be serious garbage.
You’re free to write, experiment, fail, push boundaries, sing horribly, and not play in steady time.
The funny thing is you’ll probably create something pretty good.
At the least, it will be better than the garbage you thought you were going to make.