Last night I could not sleep, so I decided to watch the pilot episode of the original Star Trek series.
I was surprised by what I witnessed:
- Kirk was not the Captain. Captain Pike was in charge and the only recognizable character was Mr. Spock–no Bones, Scotty, or Sulu.
- The special effects were awful (e.g. rocks on the planet surface looked like paper mache from the set of a middle school play).
- It was fairly risqué for the time (this was 45 years ago).
The pilot was almost comically bad. Mercifully, it was not included in the original TV series. If it had been, I would not have been inclined to watch further. However, over the next four decades, they improved every dimension–plot, acting, and special effects.
If A Thing Is Worth Doing…
In, What’s Wrong with the World, G. K. Chesterton said, that “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” That’s right–badly.
You don’t have to be an expert or the best in your field in order attempt to do a thing. In fact, you have to do it badly before you are good enough to do it well (e.g. love letters, parenting, your calling).
When I was in high school, I asked my track coach how to run faster. Coach Soranno looked me in the eye and said, “run faster.” He was right. The more you do it, the more capacity you develop. It is like lifting weights and the same principle operates in other areas of life.
As the research shows in books like Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Overrated and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, world-class performers in any field practice more than others. We would like to believe that greatness is due to a particular innate genius, but practice is really the key to success.
What Do You Want To Do?
Do you want to write books? Start blogging. Do you want to teach? How about volunteering to teach a Sunday school class. Want to beat the markets? Practice trading with a free virtual stock fund. Whatever it is, start.
Don’t worry about doing it badly. Over time, you will improve. Remember, it is not where you start, it is where you finish. Take the first step now.
-Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.
December 30, 2012
Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University