How You Can Be Better Than I Ever Was

How You Can Be Better Than I Ever Was

I’m not better than you.

Don’t you dare look at me and tell me I’m better than you.

If we were playing a game of tennis right now and it was your first time picking up a racquet, you may be tempted to say I’m better than you. But that’s only true for the time being.

Sure, I’d be able to kick your butt on the court today if you’ve never played in your life, but that’s only because I’ve been playing for five years. That could change if you put in the hard work and maintain momentum.

You could start making it a goal to play three hours a day for the next six years. We’d meet up again in 2020 and you’d kick my ass with your new and improved topspin groundstrokes, your kick serve, and your volleys.

Why? Because you would have put in the work while I only played for an hour whenever I felt like it.

Your persistence would trump mine.

Say you want to be a writer. You want to make a decent living doing it but you don’t know how. You’ve read my articles on this site and on others and think to yourself, “Wow, I could never do what he’s doing.”

Bull. Crap.

I used to write thousands and thousands of words a day. Writing drove me, motivated me, and made me hungry for more. I got better and better… But then what happened?

Things got harder. Words didn’t flow as well as they did before. Ideas stopped springing up. Instead of writing 3,000 words a day, I slowed down to 500. Eventually, I stopped writing every day and only wrote a few times a week.

Want to be better than me at writing? Then write 500 words a day. You don’t even need to up that number to my previous thousands. Keep writing 500 a day for the next three years and you’ll be better than me.

You see what’s going on? I’m getting too complacent. I’m not keeping up with my goals and honing my craft. I’m losing the race of persistence.

Losing persistence could happen to anyone. Don’t let it happen to you.

Do you want to be better than me?

Then keep practicing. Don’t slow down. Don’t be too content with where your current skills are.

Then you’ll truly beat me out and you’ll be leading the pack.

I welcome my new challengers with open arms.

Photo Credit: easylocum – Flickr

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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18 responses to How You Can Be Better Than I Ever Was

  1. Amen bro,

    Practice is the key to everything. The good news is, once you’re good at it, you can never forget it. Sure you’ll get rusty, but you won’t ever forget.

    I remember a student telling my martial arts instructor once the following statement in class:

    “Sifu, I haven’t trained in 6 months and feel like my technique with this move isn’t as good as it used to be”

    To which my instructor responds with:

    “You can never lose what you didn’t have in the first place.”

    You can never lose your skills, you’ll simply plateau. The trick is to keep pushing yourself to reach the next level, which gets harder and harder as your level of proficiency increases.

    Something i’m seeing more and more in my training and my 180-day cold approach challenge i’m currently documenting.

    Put in the hard graft now and reap the rewards in the long term.

    • Ouch, your instructor’s words must have cut deep, but I definitely get what he means. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and I’m convinced I’m far better than I really am. I think if your instructor told me that then it would have taken me onto a very introspective journey!

      I’ve been stuck on several plateaus lately but I find George Leonard’s book “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment” handles the subject well.

  2. I like to look at this in a different way. Was Jimi Hendrix a better guitarist than me? Sure.. but I bet he couldn’t play Master of Puppets all the way through.

    Can my friend speak more languages than me? Sure.. but she can barely speak a word of German.

    Are there people out there who are earning 100k a year? Sure.. but I bet they would give it all up to do something they love.

    My point is similar to yours Vincent. Success and skill is completely relative. We can all improve ourselves and not only that, each of us has a skill that someone else will envy.

    • Great way to look at things and I don’t utilize this enough. It’s easy to be used to being good or decent at something that we forget someone else would love to be at your current level. Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

  3. Making progress and then becoming complacent is part of the problem. I think another problem is a lack of focus to overcome the initial learning curve associated with learning a new skill or developing a new habit. I think the reason why people fail to make it past this learning curve is because we try to take on too many things at once. If you want to master a skill, you can’t also be trying to master 5 other skills. You have to focus on one thing at a time. Once you’ve mastered one thing, then you can move on to something else.

    • Heh, tackling too many things at once is something I’m guilty of. When I was really into sports I was trying to master Tennis, Bowling, and Ultimate Frisbee at the same time. Eventually, I began to plateau in all three as a result. Now that I’m only focusing on Tennis I find myself improving in so many areas that were stagnant for years.

  4. Love your updated format.

  5. Please don’t stop writing, Vincent. In life as a whole and not just individual aspects of life, I reckon none of us is better than any one of us here because all of us are unique in our ways. But you have inspired me (and I’m sure many others), and 500 words is better than nothing.

  6. I go through phases with writing, but I always keep going. At the heart of it, I am a writer, I have been since I was young. It all started with song and I recently wrote another one: So I can write great songs, the key is finding listeners.

  7. Nah, I don’t think I can defeat you, Vincent.

    In everything that we practice, we infuse a bit of our soul into it. When you practice your writing, you are honing your Vincent Nguyen Way of Writing not just normal writing. Even if you reach the limit of persistence, no matter what people do they can’t be better than you in that skill.

    Thanks for the post, Vincent.

  8. I have trouble believing all that, haha. Seriously.

    When I was a flutist, things were so much more different. I was confident of my skills, I knew exactly who was better than me, but I knew I was way above average. But when it comes to writing, I look left, I look right, seems like everyone’s better.

    But I don’t think that’s the important bit. It’s whether you let any of that affect you. And I don’t.

    I enjoy your articles. I DO think you’re better. I DO think it will be tough catching up. But I just focus on being consistent and improving. I surround myself with you bloggers because you guys set the standards high. Like you know, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend your most time with”?

    The only person that we’re really competing with ultimately is ourselves.

    • It’s okay to disagree. πŸ™‚

      Regardless of whether or not someone’s better than you right now you have the option to switch that around. Turn the tables on them by practicing and maintaining consistency.

      Well said, Jeremy.

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