“Shouldn’t I be better at this?”
If you’re like me, this is a question you ask a lot when you try new skills or uncommonly-used skills. You wonder if you’re as far along as you should be, and if a person of your age/progress/talents should be having as many struggles.
A great challenge (and a great skill) is putting each circumstance of our lives in the right context. Since, I’m fully convinced that we all live in one or more stages of the hero’s journey, it helps to consider what part of the journey we might be on.
Take jiu jitsu for instance. This is a martial art I took up last year. To this day I still lose in grappling, and while I’m getting closer, I still haven’t gotten but one submission (and it wasn’t very evenly-matched).
This is a great ego blow to the part of me that feels like the conquering hero who has returned from the hero’s journey. That conquering hero is *NOT* supposed to get his ass kicked.
The problem, of course, is assuming that my relatively victorious quests in some areas (say, confidence and expertise at work) should translate to realized hero-dom everywhere else. It’s only when I stop to put myself in the *right part of the story* that I can better handle the challenge of learning a new skill like this (which inevitably involves a lot of failure).
The right part of the story for me right now – at least where jiu jitsu is concerned – is the part of the story where the clunky, naive youth goes through training to become a warrior (imagine the training scenes in Mulan or Hercules, for you fellow Disney fans). It’s painful, messy, embarrassing, but forming. It’s supposed to be awkward.
But who wouldn’t want to get warrior training, and everything that comes with it?
Recognize the stage of the journey you’re in, wherever you are, and then enjoy it.