Anything Worth Learning Is Worth Doing Badly

Rod Pickett
2 min readDec 12, 2022

Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training.

Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

My younger daughter was exceptionally good at math in high school.

That was great, but it led to problems in some of her other subjects.

Because math came so easy to her, she was frustrated when she didn’t have the same experience in English class.

Writing was especially challenging for her.

Every time she had to do a paper, she struggled just to get started.

And she saw that as evidence that this was beyond her ability to do well.

There was a struggle in math, but she was not aware of it.

Most of the time, the struggle was easily overcome.

When the struggle was more significant, she enjoyed the process of getting past it. She had confidence in her ability and kept struggling until she had a breakthrough.

But in English, she compared herself with the students that made it look easy, so she believed there was something wrong with her.

She felt stupid in English class, and she didn’t like that.

Today my daughter understands that struggling is not a sign of a lack of ability but is a sign that she is learning.

Have you ever told yourself that you were not good at some subject or some skill?

That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When you encounter that struggle, you tell yourself, “I knew I wasn’t good at this.”

But the struggle is an essential part of the learning process.

If you want to learn new skills, you must be willing to look foolish and feel stupid.

Yes, some people make it look easy, but it wasn’t always easy.

And not everything is easy for them.

Learning anything requires a struggle. If there is no struggle, there is no learning.

You are not going to become fluent in French while you are sleeping.

You must struggle to find the right word and take the risk of embarrassing yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to people who make this process look easy.

You don’t know how much time and effort they have invested to get to the point where it looks easy.

And you don’t know what things you find easy that they struggle with or don’t even try to master.

There is an upside to the struggle: Those who struggle to learn make the best teachers and coaches.

Learn something new today and embrace the struggle.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

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Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.