HACK / MAKE

A Simple Guide to Getting Better at What You Do

You’re reading this because you have the ambition to do something better with your life; to be better. Maybe you’ve been working the same job for years while that young hot-shot got a promotion before you or you’re in a long-term relationship and you know your partner is getting bored. It doesn’t really matter what you’re dealing with because this formula will work for anything. Whether it’s professional or personal, you’re not getting better at that thing because you’re scared and you don’t know what to do next. There are so many options and you don’t know which one is the right way. You’re afraid of what might happen when you get out of your comfort zone. If you’re doing life right, you’ll always be going out of your comfort zone so follow this guide to help ease your way into getting better at what you do.

Stop Wasting Time

You’re scared to do anything cool so you just sit on Facebook instead. I understand, I’ve been there. You have a perfectly groomed list of things you want do in your fancy, polished GTD list but it’s been years since you checked anything off of that list besides picking up milk. If you want to go do awesome things and get better at life, it takes a lot of time and you’re wasting tons of it. Get over the fear of missing out and spend less time reading the dramas of peoples’ lives. You’re wasting your time on things that don’t matter when you could be doing a lot better things. You don’t need some transition strategy to wean yourself off of time wasters. Grow up. Turn the TV off. Quit that game. You’re going to need that time to learn how to be so much cooler.

Research How to Be Better

As much as you think you have the gusto to just log off of Facebook and start being better, it doesn’t work that way. You’re going to have to spend time figuring things out. You’re going to need to read books that teach you how to be valuable, how to be creative, how to get things done, and how to find meaning. You’ll need to read blogs that challenge you. Listen to smart people who struggle with the same problems you have. You need to learn from other peoples’ wisdom. They’ve already gone through this and can teach you about it.

Right now, you’re paralyzed about doing something great because you don’t know where to start. You don’t know how it will end, or how you’ll get through it. The thing is, it’s really easy to figure out. You’re not the only person struggling with this and when people are having problems, they go to other people for help. Not sure where to start? Try the internet. Google something. Find a blog or forum about how to get yourself out of debt. Go to the library and ask for a book. It sounds lame, but you’re never going to get better if you don’t start somewhere.

Don’t Be Scared of Being Scared

All of the cool things I’ve ever done began with me being scared. The first time I rock climbed, and whenever I push myself to climb something difficult. The time I went skydiving. The time I moved to New York City alone to work for a startup and a boss I had never met in person. The time I walked 35 miles straight in 13 hours around Manhattan. I was scared to do all of those things and was usually scared while doing those things. Don’t let that stop you.

Learn to be OK with scary things so that scary things won’t stop you from being awesome. Scary things won’t stop happening. If you’re doing it right, they should happen more often. Scary things usually mean that you’re going in the right direction—out of your comfort zone. You’ll just learn to deal with your fear and not let it stop you. The worst case scenario that you’ve got stuck in your head is false. That fear is unfounded. You’re more likely to die—or at least be a boring, lame person—if you don’t do what you’re scared of.

People will tell you what you’re doing is stupid. They’ll say you’re wasting your time. They say these things because they wish they could be doing what you’re doing but are too scared themselves. They’re jealous because you’re not letting fear stop you. They’re trying to sabotage you. Leave these people behind. You shouldn’t be doing things for other people’s approval anyway.

Go Do Something About It

So you’ve read a couple things and you subscribe to a blog about being awesome. Great! You’re scared about what comes next but you’ve promised yourself that’s not going to stop you. Wonderful. But you’re still no better at what you do and no cooler. You haven’t gotten that raise and your girlfriend still thinks you’re boring (probably even more now that you’ve been reading all those relationship forums). What next? You need to go do something about it. It doesn’t even really matter what it is, it just needs to be step in the right direction. Do something that makes you feel alive for once. Break the rules if you need to. Do something ballsy. If you’re really scared, do something small first. Pretty quickly you’ll get the good feeling that comes from being better and cooler. You’re going to want more of that and you’ll do cool things more often.

Don’t betray your ambitions. Be driven by them. Stop over thinking it and go do something great. This is the most important part and once you do it, nothing else matters. Don’t give a shit about what other people think—they’re just jealous because you’re doing something world-changing.

After you did something great, go do something greater.


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