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It’s okay to look foolish: Why winners aren’t phased by the critics

What keeps people from pursuing their dreams, or any ambition for that matter?

Sure, there are individuals with economic disadvantages that make it damn near impossible to see their potential or to focus on a life other than the one in front of them.

But what about those of us who are privy to life’s endless possibilities — the ones who have enough freedom to actually make a difference. What’s their excuse?

The same goes for people who remain bound to one profession their entire lives or who have closet skills and “hobbies” they could easily be pursuing in a professional matter. Why is it that we constantly limit ourselves?

The answer is quite simple: most of us are afraid of looking foolish.

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We’re comfortable with what we know even if what we know isn’t necessarily what we love or want to do. Because of this, a lot of us become complacent and end up watching our real desires from the outside looking in.

But what if we stepped out of our comfort zone, confronted our fears and became okay with falling on our faces? Imagine the doors that would be opened, the possibilities made available.

There are YouTube stars just waiting to be unleashed if they’d just be patient with the editing process. The next big stand-up comedian is at a coffee shop somewhere, hidden behind the anxiety of bombing.

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There are event planners with huge ideas in, who, if they’d just get past the possibility of their first events not being sold out hits, can make a major difference in their city’s party scene.  

Anyone who is an expert first started off as a novice; the difference is that they weren’t afraid to try or to look foolish doing it.

When we accept growing pains, trust in our vision and break past the social media culture, we allow ourselves to be students who can, in turn, become masters.

Bad before good, ugly before pretty

I’m not exactly sure why we think we’re supposed to be great out the gate or why we think we’re above learning curves of any regard.

But whether you’re building a brand, working toward a degree or learning a new skill, you’re going to be bad before you’re good; ugly before pretty.

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Our generation’s perfectionist syndrome has frozen far too many creatives and has kept too many award-winning ideas closeted — every great artist has to start somewhere. The difference is that those who do aren’t afraid of not being perfect in the beginning.

Whatever the desire, if you’re able to get past initially not being great and just do it anyway, you’ll already be light years past the majority. The only difference between the 1% and the rest is that they tried, stared failure in the face, and then tried again.

It’s supposed to be ugly at first. Just keep going.

Social media is a liar

A major reason a lot of us are apprehensive of putting out less-than-perfect work is because of what social media has become.

When you hop on Instagram, Twitter or whichever is your platform of choice, you’re not witnessing bad hair days, pimples, rejection letters or the humble beginnings.

You see wins, success, and fabricated projections of real day to day lives. No wonder so many people these days are discouraged to put themselves out there.

When we’re able to see past the facade of social media and when we embrace the clumsiness that may come with whichever venture we post, we allow ourselves to practice and eventually grow.

We will inevitably improve with each attempt, but unless we attempt we’ll never improve.

Your vision is your own

The main reason we should be unbothered by how we start off and why we should just go for each and every creative impulse is because only we can see our vision fulfilled. 

The critics, the laughter, and the haters are usually people who are sitting on their couch not doing anything at all. There isn’t a successful creative unfamiliar with the struggle, it’s just that the hate oftentimes sounds louder than the support.

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Even though we may not initially be able to produce what we feel, picture or envision, only we know what we’re working towards. And as long as we stay locked on the final product and consistent with the journey throughout, what anyone else says does not matter.

At the end of the day, your follies are yours. As long as we remain detached from the romance of perfection and are committed to the work our passions calls for, we can do anything.

Start that YouTube makeup tutorial, rap career or media outlet. You’re going to fall and look foolish, but it won’t be forever.