DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE THE FOOL

I hate to start this off by tooting my own horn, but I like to consider myself a jack-of-all-trades. I am either ‘good’ or ‘great’ at a wide variety of things, and I know for a fact that it’s not because I’m a miracle child or that I’m just somehow better then everybody else.

There are a few contributing factors to why I’d consider myself a ‘natural’ and perhaps the biggest one is that I’m not afraid to be the fool.

Now, by being the fool I don’t mean acting like a goof and being dumb. What I mean is that I’m not afraid to fail in front of people, and I’ve found that people will admire that quality because most people wish that they had the courage to try and fail and not feel broken about it. You don’t have to be perfect to be successful. That’s just unrealistic.

Some people have made their careers being fools, that is, by putting themselves out there without the assurance that other people would accept them. Think of your favorite comedian. People enjoy a fool sometimes.

In fact, kings used to have a fool in their courts for entertainment and that fool would put himself out there and make jokes and try to get a laugh out of people without knowing if anyone would even like them. And who knows what would happen if the king didn’t like them? They were courageous, and courage is always admired.

Putting yourself out there and making yourself vulnerable to judgement and failure is like a superpower. Whenever I try to do something, whether its something new or if its something that I am already familiar with, I will give my upmost effort and if I fail, then I laugh it off and I don’t take it too seriously.

Its like I have unlimited practice runs. I don’t take myself too seriously, and people around me realize that they don’t have to take themselves too seriously either, and there’s more energy freed up to have fun.

When you’re unafraid to fail at an attempt to do something, its as if all of that energy that would be used to sustain the fear of failure and the fear of embarrassment can instead be used as a driving force to success.

You only have so much energy to give, so why are you giving most of it to discouraging thoughts when it can be used to think courageous thoughts? Or thoughts of success?

I think that a lot of that natural ability came from achieving a level of mastery in one thing and that experience transferred over into many things. But to attain that mastery, I had to look like a damn fool more than I would’ve liked.

To get good at martial arts, I had to look like a fool when I was practicing a new kick I hadn’t tried before, and I failed at it a thousand times before I got any good at it. I’ve had people laugh at me, and I felt so embarrassed that I just wanted to disappear into thin air with the breeze.

But once I got over myself, which came from knowing I’m nowhere near perfect from failing a million times, I was able to laugh at myself too.

Being perfect is too stressful to try and live up to because it’s an unrealistic way to live. It’s easier to laugh at yourself and continue on with the process of improvement without too much judgement. Some judgement is healthy as long as it’s constructive. Too much judgement and you’re setting yourself up for rough times.

Being too serious about yourself is a rigid way to live and it will only lead to snapping and having an emotional breakdown. You don’t want that, and nobody likes an emotionally turbulent person. So loosen up and laugh at your mistakes so long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.

I used to draw or paint and I’d try something new and it would come out horrible and I’d be ashamed and throw that piece away. But if it wasn’t for all those crappy times, then I would’ve never gotten this far. Now I can look at those kind of pieces and laugh and show my friends and we all roast me together. It’s really not that bad. Your ego makes it bad.

Sometimes I’ll go back and read some of the old stuff I’ve written like, holy crap, what third grader wrote this? And then I laugh at myself and change it or delete it entirely. As long as I’m progressing there’s really nothing to be upset about.

If you want to get good at something, then get used to looking like a fool getting there, and be able to laugh about it as well. Soon enough you’ll learn from your mistakes and you’ll look less like the fool and more like the expert.

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