Did you ever like exams? I did. Especially in university.
Not the actual studying and definitely not the period leading to the exam. What I really liked about exams is the doing part. Actually, doing is inaccurate because on some of the exams, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, it was more like trying. Trying to make sense of the question, trying to understand what I had to do and trying to write a correct answer or, at least, an answer that would give me enough partial marks. What I really liked about this is that there was a time limit. Usually 3 hours. For 3 hours, I was in front of a paper and I just had to write something.
I remember on some exams after about an hour or so, I’d have flipped through all the pages, answered all the questions that I knew how to answer and I was left with 2 hours and a bunch of questions that seemed super hard for me. Some people would probably just give up and either wait for the 2 hours to run out or submit their papers early, but that was non-optional for me. I had way too much pride to submit an exam knowing that I didn’t answer all the questions. Consequently, the only thing I could do was TRY. On some rare occasions, I would have epiphanies while trying and actually knew how to answer the questions, but most of the time? I just freaking wrote something, anything that seemed to make sense.
I’ve actually never looked at one of my exams, but I can tell you that my grades would definitely not have been as good if I never tried to answer all those questions.
Applying this Mentality to Life
This isn’t just some flex about how good I was at partially answering questions. As always, I try to take a positive experience I had in the past and see how I can apply it to my life in general. In this particular case, I think the bigger picture here is that I should start applying a new motto to life: Just Try It.
I’ve been so busy chasing success or whatever metric that I forgot that there’s a lot of value in simply trying something. At times, I find myself wanting to do something or attempting to start something and I have so many thoughts that stop me from just starting it.
What exactly is “Just Try It”? It’s really just…. trying it. It’s so simple, so pure, but there’s so much magic in simply being okay with trying it.
Not Like the Other Famous Quote
There’s another quote that is very very similar to this. I think it was started by some sports clothing brand or something… Or a sports shoes company… I heard their name is very similar to my nickname “Nick”. Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that company, but their motto is “Just Do It”.
The problem I have with the word “do” is that it’s so easy to say, but it’s so hard “to do” (no pun intended). In fact, “doing” is often so hard that I can come up with 20 different excuses as to why I can’t just “do it”. I’m short. I’m too tall. I don’t have the strength. I don’t write well enough. I’m not interesting. I don’t know how to film. I don’t know where I would start. Those other people are way better than me. I was never able to do it before. It’s too hard. I don’t understand it. And my favorite of them all: I just can’t do it.
In the face of a task that seems hard or almost impossible, there’s a million excuses that pops up in my mind as to why “doing it” is unrealistic. But what about trying?
There’s no really “good” excuses as to why I shouldn’t try. Sure, maybe I think that I’m not good enough or that I can’t do it, but honestly, what’s the only REAL way of knowing? Well, it’s simply to “just try it”.
Extending Just Try It to Goals
This new motto can be applied to practically anything you want, but one that is very useful to me is when I apply it to my goals.
You see, I don’t like admitting it, but I have a massive fear of failure. I don’t like to fail and I’m often afraid of failing. Consequently, instead of doing something hard and daunting, I often opt to doing easy things that I am sure not to fail. Or sometimes I just don’t do shit at all.
“Can’t fail if you never do right?”
But this changes with a “Just Try It” attitude.
Once you set your only goal as “trying” then the only real way of failing is… well if you don’t try !
Only have 1 like? Doesn’t matter.
Only have 75 subscribers? Doesn’t matter (although it hurts my ego 😭 😂 ).
Wrote a “shitty” post? Doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters is that you tried (wow, this sounds like such a participation medal speech LMAO).
Bonus: Trying and Creating
Another thing I hate to admit is that I’m still just an idea guy. Someone who has many many ideas, but never act on them. I think the main reason why I keep staying in the idea phase is that I always put my ideas on a pedestal. Every time I have an idea, I always imagine it being THE idea that is going to launch my entrepreneurial or famous career. As a consequence, the pressure of doing everything “perfectly” is very high thus making excuses as to why I won’t be able to attain that “perfect” status is also very easy.
The core principle behind going from “idea guy” to “maker /creator” is fairly simple. For each idea you have, you simply create them. A lot of you probably read this and was like “okay Nick, if it was that easy, no one would be idea guys” and I’d usually be the first one to agree with you, but not this time.
I’m not saying make the best version of your idea. I’m not saying make your idea successful. I’m not even saying make a good version of your idea. I’m saying just make your idea.
Let’s say I want to publish a book right. When I think about writing a book, I think about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the 4-Hour Work Week, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, etc. Best sellers or books that are generally well received by the public.
And then, whenever I think about those big successful books, I tell myself “omg, those people write so well, they have so much experience. I can never write as well as them. I don’t have the expertise. The longest thing I wrote is a 3000 word essay for school. What if no one even reads my book.” After those thoughts, I usually just drop the whole idea together or I put it off until I think I write well enough.
But what if instead, all I think about is publishing a book. Publishing a book and then not caring what happens next? The sole goal is to try and get it published. When I think about it that way, it’s pretty doable. Actually it’s very doable (especially that you can self publish through Amazon or something). At the end of it, you would have successfully published a book. Isn’t that awesome in itself?! And yeah, the book might not be read by millions…. or maybe it will. One thing’s for sure though. I’ll never know until I “Just Try It”.
Just Try It, Who Knows What Will Happen
To conclude, I should adopt this “just try it” mentality more often. I also invite you to give it a try. It’ll probably take us further than all the excuses we tell ourselves.
Just like during my University years, I can definitely say that there’s a lot of merit in simply trying something. And if we’re lucky enough and try enough times, then we might get enough partial marks here and there to get a good grade out of life 😉.