Just because you aren't good at something doesn't mean you can't enjoy doing it.
There are many activities I do today that I had been previously unwilling to give a second chance. Either from outside influence or due to my own conclusions, I had placed limiting beliefs on many of my abilities and skills.
In elementary school I was told I had poor reading comprehension. I believed this to be true and avoided reading because I assumed I wasn’t good enough at it to enjoy it. It wasn't until I turned 23 that I really challenged that limiting belief. I gave up 15 years of reading because of something I was told when I was 8.
Though it took me 15 years to challenge my belief, I am proud to share that I read 50 books in 2016.
A combination of average writing grades + forced writing topics in school led me to believe that writing just wasn't for me. My laughably low score on the writing section of the ACT was a strong reminder of what I thought I knew was true: I wasn’t meant to write. But I couldn't quit, because college wouldn't let me. I continued to struggle with writing assignments. I believed I wasn’t a good writer so I didn’t put in any effort. Mediocre grades reinforced my belief and kept me in the same state of mind with the same level of effort. Then in theater class I was tasked with writing a play. This was something I had never done. I had never felt so much freedom (I could write whatever play I wanted), and I had never had such little pressure. I mean, it was my first play...what do we expect?!
The grade I received? 100%.
I remember my immediate thoughts after receiving that grade: Is this the right paper? Did he read this? Did everyone get a perfect score? It was the right paper, I don't know if my Professor read it, and everyone may have received a 100%, but it doesn’t matter...something happened I never imagined possible, and it got me thinking...could I actually write? If I were to write about something I cared about, what would that look like?
Though I still have a lot of room to grow, I'm here. I'm writing. I'm having fun.
Now this one I'm surprised by. Growing up, art and music were things that I was never good at, and thus became things I told myself I could never do. What I hadn't realized is that drawing is FUN! I finally realized that I don't have to be good at it to enjoy doing it. And you know what? The fun of drawing is leading me to get a little better at it. What's not great about that?
Though my drawings are rudimentary and need work, I drew the image for this article (and had fun doing so!)
I'm a very hopeful and positive person. If something new comes into my life, I'm able to apply a growth mindset. If I had already decided that I wasn't good at something, however, I wasn't able to challenge that limiting belief with the same vigor. A shift of these limiting beliefs took extra prodding and encouragement. Thank you to everyone who has helped me to challenge my limiting beliefs so that I can now enjoy reading, writing, and drawing. Because of finding joy in each of these practices I previously thought I couldn’t do, I’ve improved in areas I never thought I could.
- What is something you believe you can't do?
- What is something you believe you wouldn't enjoy because you think you’re not good at it?
- When's the last time you challenged these limiting beliefs?
As I mentioned above, shifting my limiting beliefs required extra prodding and encouragement. Let the fact that you've read this article be the extra push and encouragement you need to shift your limiting belief. Take action, and have fun.
Let's do this.