Abilities are an aspect that I haven’t focused on much. No doubt there are many great qualities out there in the world. But what out there is the best way to be improving your abilities? This question has been asked many times before and there are tonnes of people out there willing to share their advice with you.
Some people will talk about how you need to overcome your own fears, anxieties and other mental blockades.
Others will advise to seek out mentors and get a guiding hand.
Or maybe you’ll need to be looking out for new challenges that push you to improve your abilities and skills.
All of these things are fantastic ideas. However, they all pale in comparison to this one trick to improve your abilities tremendously. This trick is a simple phrase:
Willingness to improve rather than rely on your own current abilities.
As unusual of a sentence that is, it makes a lot of sense the more you think about it. For example, if you want to be improving your abilities in driving a car, you have to start driving a car. This logic is true with everything in life. But behind that specific action is a willingness.
I have no desire to drive a car at all. Hence if I were to get behind a wheel, my driving would be more conservative and restrained. You’d be able to tell I never drove a car before. Not to mention it would take a lot of effort to put me behind the wheel in the first place. I can’t improve my abilities to drive a car until I get into a car and start driving and have a willingness to do so.
Until then, my abilities are going to be rusty.
Another example is language. If you have no willingness to learn a language, you’re not going to learn it. All the same, if there is no willingness to use the language you learned, you’re not going to retain it.
So the real question becomes not a matter of “how you can grow your abilities?” Instead, it’s…
How can you grow your willingness to improve those abilities?
It Starts And Ends With Self-Esteem
At the end of the day, our abilities stem from our self-esteem. Your willingness to do things beyond your comfort zone and how you view your abilities — and yourselves — stems from this. If you think you’re a terrible writer, you’re not going to write very good and you’ll be hesitant in taking in larger clients.
If there is a promotion at your workplace that you’re excited for but bail out of stems from you thinking your skills aren’t up to snuff.
The reason most don’t think those situations are self-esteem issues is because we cover them up with excuses. In a Medium exclusive post I made recently I talked about barriers to happiness. For the article, I pointed to the 100 Day Happiness Challenge.
In short, it’s a challenge where you need to post on social media one thing that made you happy that day. You’ll need to repeat this process for 100 days in a row.
While you’d think this is easy, this challenge has a failure rate of 71%.
Why the high failure rate? Many people chalked it up to not having enough time.
While my article takes a different tangent, the fact still remains that we come up with excuses to avoid anything. Even excuses to avoid doing a rather simple challenge of finding one good thing that happened to you that day and posting it on social media.
I don’t believe in those excuses and think there is something more to it. In this instance of lack of willingness, it’ll typically stem from a lack of self-esteem. You’re not willing to stretch your comfort levels to new things because you think it’ll end poorly.
And even in cases where some of those reasons are legitimate — like my own unwillingness to drive a car or have a license — these are mental barriers.that can be overturned.
How that happens is to further enhance your self esteem.
- Training your mindset to appreciate areas of growth as learning opportunities.
- Looking for opportunities to question your current views and mindsets about things.
- Reinforcing positive actions while identifying negative aspects that get in the way of your current goals.
- Being more assertive.
- Improving how you look at yourself. Whether it’s on a mental level but also physically too.
All of these things will improve your own self esteem over time while enhancing more abilities in other areas of your life. Moat importantly, it allows you to stretch your own comfort zones and forces you to fill it with something else. This is key in self-improvement as to truly grow and enhance abilities, it’s a matter of looking at what’s wrong, stopping it and replacing it with something better for you.
You Can Enhance Your Abilities And Grow Tremendously
Your own willingness to do something plays a role in all this. If there is no willingness to grow or admit there is something wrong, then you will continue going down the same path you’ve always been going down. Until you do something that you are scared to do or uncomfortable with doing, only then will you start to see growth and improvement. Even if it means taking a step back.
Of course, we are not flawless beings and there are things that we are not that good at. The question is is that a problem? And if it is a problem in your mind then ask yourself how willing are you to improve those abilities and solve that problem?
There is one other challenge that I want to bring up that this article in particular highlighted. It’s what actually spurred me to write about this in the first place. It involves a billionaire by the name of Dan Peña. This man is worth 50 billion dollars and lives out in a castle in Scotland. Naturally, he’s living the life of an actual king with servants, butlers, and staff that go around to serve him.
He speaks at various events and takes on a tough-love approach which is welcomed within the community. In one of his speeches, he outlined a challenge.
The premise is to take pictures at various exquisite locations. From exotic car dealerships (Rolls Royce, Lamborghini) all the way to million-dollar mansions. You are meant to take selfies in those and act as a buyer. The keyword here is “act”. Afterwards, you must send these pictures to him as proof you’ve done it.
Whenever Dan Peña has some downtime, he offers up this challenge to roughly 50,000 people in his mailing list. The people that have subscribed to him and routinely listen to speeches, emails and more. The people who clearly want to have what he has. Or a fraction of it at least.
The thing is, the reward for completing this challenge is the opportunity to attend his castle seminar. The crown jewel of all of his seminars.
But what’s crazy is that out of all the participants from that challenge, only 8 of them completed that challenge. That’s under 0.1%.
And though you and I won’t know all of the reasons, no doubt a lot of it stemmed from self esteem. While people can say they’re not near any million dollar mansions or exotic car dealerships without spending hundreds or even thousands to get there, those are excuses.
If you had a chance to get to a castle and listen to an inspiring speech by someone you look up to for free, spending a few hundred or a thousand dollars doesn’t sound like a huge sacrifice. Especially when people who listen to that speech move on to be wealthy as well.
This challenge is all a test.
A test of your own abilities and how you view yourself and them. If you want to be growing and seeing new places and making bigger strides, you need to show your willingness to get to that castle.
You need to show that willingness to replace what isn’t working and be willing to fill it with something better.
If you’re coasting through life, you won’t have the willingness to grow and improve. Simple as that.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
Originally published at https://ericscottburdon.com on September 6, 2020.