Rule #1 – Show up

If you want to get better at something, anything, the first rule is to show up.

Sure, there is a certain amount of basic ability that’s required to perform a skill, but getting to that basic level is generally the easy part. The hard part is showing up day after day, persevering, grinding, making progress slowly but surely.

Want to get better at writing? Write something every day.

Want to get better at baking? Bake something every day.

Want to get better at coding? Code every day.

Want to build your skill running a business? Start one.

Want to get better at <insert-skill-here>? Do <insert-skill-here> every day.

By showing up every day, putting in the effort, doing the work, you move slowly forward every day. Those small gains add up over time, compounding, and make the difference between succeeding and failing, being average and being great.

And when failure occurs, which it inevitably will, you need to pick yourself up, dust off, and keep moving forward. Don’t listen to the outsiders putting you down, the critics who find enjoyment tearing down others’ work.

This excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech, also known as “The Man in the Arena,” sums it up best:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic”

Stop researching, stop studying, stop critiquing, and start doing. Show up. It’s how you’ll get better. It’s how you’ll improve. It’s how you’ll ultimately succeed.


h/t to one of my favorite blogs for inspiring this post, which is worth the short read for a little more inspiration – https://seths.blog/2021/09/write-something/.

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