What Do You Want to Be Good At?

Good morning, and happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

I spent a good part of mine doing my taxes. It’s a necessary evil that could be made a lot simpler with technology, but that’s not the case. I was pleasantly surprised to find the main form (1040) much shorter than it used to be. But that was just an illusion, because additional forms have been added this year. So, what used to be on one form is now on several. That’s what I call progress.

And it’s also what I call a perfect opportunity for an accountant to earn some of my money next year. I remember the last time I replaced a front spindle on my truck, I told my wife that would be the last time. My days of climbing under a car are over. And the same is true of taxes. There’s a reason other people get paid to do this. And I’m about to find out.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m willing to tackle just about any task. Okay, maybe even a little smug. I learned to work on cars because a basic set of tools is cheaper than a mechanic, and you can use the tools over and over again. I stuck my toe in the water with some oil changes and odd jobs like that. Then I rebuilt my first engine. It ran for almost a year after that. I’m just sayin’.

In that case, all of the repairs I did were done correctly. I just stopped short of removing the crankshaft to check for wear and, as it turned out, I should have kept going. So, you learn. But once again, I still remember the moment I decided that car had finally gotten the better of me. As oil poured from the top of the engine, I said those famous words … “That’s it! I’ve had enough!”

Well, you can add taxes to the growing list of things Dave won’t do again. Once upon a time, writing the checks was the hardest part. But there’s a reason judges don’t recommend that people represent themselves in court. There’s a reason airlines make us sit in the back of the plane. And there’s a reason hospitals won’t let you remove your own gall bladder.

There’s no job in the world that any of us couldn’t learn. It’s been said that we use roughly 3-4% of our mental capacity on a given day. That leaves a lot of brain power for learning new stuff. But learning it is one thing – getting good at it is another matter completely. That takes time, practice, and lots of experience making the same mistakes the rest of us would make.

I read something yesterday that said the only difference between the master and the student is that the master has failed more times than the student has tried. You could apply that same statement to the principles of success and say the difference between success and failure is the successful person has failed more times than the unsuccessful person will ever try.

As we learn new skills, mistakes are inevitable. In the pursuit of success, we will fail a lot. The difference is, failure is only temporary until we accept it as a way of life. Successful people just never made that choice. They have a goal that’s more powerful than any obstacle life can place in their way. And they glide over it like an Olympic hurdler. They make it look easy.

You look at them and think, “That person could go into a septic tank and come out with a pot of gold.” And, to a degree, that’s true. But it’s not a special skill they were born with. It’s simply the burning desire to find that pot of gold, no matter what. The reason they’re so good at it is because they’ve done it so many times.

There will be things in your life that are better left to the “experts.” You could learn to do any one of them, and if you put in the time to build those skills, you could be really good at them. The trick is deciding what you want to be good at, and what you’re willing to leave to somebody else.

As you drive past stately homes in “that” part of town, or see people getting on a plane for exotic locations you’ve only dreamed about, ask yourself a simple question – is this something I’m willing to leave to the experts, or is this something I want to take the time to learn? The answer to that question will shape the rest of your life.

Success isn’t a skill – it’s a choice. None of us can be great at everything, so be great at the things that matter to you most. And, once you’ve made that commitment, don’t let anything stand in your way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved