Follow Friday + Nicki’s Personal Updates: Building a skill is like learning to Ride a Bike

Nicki Personal Update

I’m a big reader. I joke to my friends sometimes that I am the reason why physical Barnes and Noble stores are still in business — I literally spend at least $150 on books per month. (It’s in my personal financial budget, don’t worry). It’s just my thing, everything from going to the store and grabbing coffee to looking at stacks of books to selecting a few to excitedly carrying my new friends home. (If this sounds sad to you, it’s really not — I just love to read that much).

That said, I used to believe you could find the answer to just about anything in a book. I’ve been meeting with a very knowledgable business advisor regularly. After I was expressing an issue that I couldn’t resolve in any book, he said to me, “You can’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book.”

That reminded me: You don’t get anywhere by being stuck in your own head. It’s feet on the street, the hustle, that makes it in this world. How many times have you seen an invention or an idea you had months or years before, now being sold on TV? How many times have you thought of a book or movie concept and then seen it previewed? Or hummed a new melody to yourself, only to hear it as the new jingle on a commercial?

No matter what your personal genius is, you have to do it if you want to get better. Society doesn’t pay you to think. Society pays you to do. And the only way you get better is to fall down and keep getting up and trying to do better.

So remember that: Whether you’re trying to start and run a successful business, go to graduate school, perfect a new skill, or raise a family, you just have to do it. It may very well be ugly from one point of view, but if you go into it with a sense of humor and full acceptance of “beginner’s syndrome,” you’ll ace it in no time. (Or years. But stick with it!)

I love getting personal letters from readers — write to me anytime at nicki[at]futurederm[dot]com.



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  • “Beginners syndrome” – I really like that term 😛 and it’s so true, it encompasses all of those anxieties that come with starting a new project, going in a new direction etc. I’m going to keep this in mind 🙂

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