Image source: hawaaword.com
Today I broke 100 while bowling. It was the first time in 47 years I’ve done that, and it was a predicable result of finally doing several things I should have been doing all along. Now I’m analyzing what happened today so I can use it in other places.
As a kid, I used to tell myself my bad scores were a fluke. When I got older I convinced myself that my poor scores were going to go away if I just kept paying attention to what I was doing. Finally in the last couple of weeks I recognized that I just sucked at bowling.
I set a goal for myself. I wanted to bowl 100. I thought that was a reasonable goal because I’d come somewhat close to that in the past.
At first I just tried harder, and floundered in all the sensory feedback as I tried to determine what was wrong. I knew I could just go online and read about how to bowl better, but I never did. Finally I got sick of not reaching my goal so I pulled out my phone mid-game and read about how to bowl.
The information I needed in order to improve my game was easily available. Within ten minutes, I learned three or four things that clued me into details I never noticed: you can line yourself up on those dots on the floor; you can aim for the arrows on the lane instead of the pins; every lane is different, so be flexible each time you bowl.
I did what I read. I didn’t succeed automatically, but the change was significant. I quickly reached a point where I could use the feedback I was getting from my attempts and make adjustments to improve.
I’ll restate the story into five generalized steps.
- I reached a useful level of self awareness, then accepted what I learned without judgment.
- I set a reasonable goal in relation to my current self-image.
- I experienced a manageable level of frustration in relation to that reasonable goal, then used my frustration as motivator to taking steps (ask for help, find a model to imitate, read about it).
- Utilizing easily available information, I made use of elements in my environment I had disregarded or underestimated to improve my performance.
- Improving as a result, I reached a point where I could assess reasons for my failure to achieve the goal.
No blame here. As simple as these steps are, it’s no easy thing for me to reach a useful level of self-awareness, to determine what is a reasonable goal, or to tolerate my frustration. I’m posting because I had the good fortune today to go through all five steps in a single half hour, making them much easier to see!
Now that I’ve reached my goal, can I repeat my success? Can I determine a new goal which is also reasonable? Better yet, can I use this information to succeed in other arenas, like making money off my writing?