Has anyone every given you praise, genuine praise, for your work but you didn’t see it? Did you ever wonder why that happens? It happens to me sometimes, especially with my writing. People say I am a good writer but sometimes I just don’t see what they are talking about. I figured out why that is and it comes down to one thing: potential. Ira Glass sums it up in pretty well.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” -Ira Glass
I think he perfectly describes any work you do when you are short of your potential. Others look at it and may say it is good but you look at it and know something is missing. You know that there is that special something that you need to put your work over the top and reach your ambitions. However, in the beginning you do not know what that special something is and instead of realizing you just haven’t reached your potential yet, you think you are not good enough. The truth is though, you are good enough you just have not gotten their yet. You only feel that your work is missing something subconsciously we know we can do better.
This is why you need to strive to reach your full potential. Never settle for good enough, always aim for better than you ever imagined. No matter what it is that you are doing never stop improving because you never know how great you can really become. If you keep doing better than you previously did, one day you will look at yourself and your work and realize that it is the work you always knew you could do. Don’t stop there though! In fact, don’t stop ever! If you want to do something go out and do it. If you are not good at first keep working on it. You never know when you have reached your full potential so just keep trying to improving and always strive to be the person you are capable of becoming.