We often want to know how to get better at everything we do. Well, there’s no real secret to this.
I got better at writing music by writing lots of bad music. Eventually, my songs got better and better.
I got better at guitar by playing a bunch of wrong notes. Eventually, I started playing right notes.
I got better at conducting by doing an awful job running my orchestra’s rehearsal the first few times, until I got better and more confident.
I got better at Smash by going 0-2 at a ton of tournaments. Eventually, I started placing better and winning more sets.
I got better at cooking by messing up a ton of recipes. Eventually, my food became more and more tasty.
If you want to get better at anything, you just have to do that thing. A lot. Every day. You have to consistently write music, practice guitar, play Smash, cook… whatever it is you want to do and improve at, you have to make a habit of doing that thing every day.
The thing is, when you hear someone’s beautiful composition, or hear them performing, you’re only hearing something that’s been meticulously refined. You’re not hearing the thousands of hours of playing wrong notes. You’re not hearing the hundreds of shitty songs they wrote in order to hone their craft.
When I was younger, I was a terrible guitar player, and my compositions were awful. I’ve gotten to where I am today through years and years of practice and honing my craft.
It’s not just me experiencing this.
Did you know that the creators of Angry Birds launched over 50 unsuccessful games before Angry Birds took the world by storm?
Did you know that the Beatles were originally turned down by Decca Records, being told that their style of music was on its way out and would no longer be considered cool?
Did you know that J.K. Rowling was turned down again and again by 12 different publishers, until Harry Potter was finally picked up and published?
I was rejected from my school’s music department… twice. But I kept working on my musical skills, and, well, I’m here today making music for games.
There are countless stories of people who’ve failed, been rejected, turned away, but they just got better and better at their craft until they were told YES.
Rovio, the studio behind Angry Birds, didn’t stop making games. The Beatles didn’t stop making music. J.K. Rowling didn’t stop writing. They kept pushing on and on until they saw success.
So, if you want to get better at what you do, you have to consistently work on your craft. But you also have to expect to mess up and fail. A lot. You have to expect to be rejected, criticized, turned down, told to stop. A lot.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many potential clients rejected me. Turned me down. Told me know. There were days when I wanted to say “to hell with it!”. But I didn’t. I kept pressing on, despite often being in situations where I needed that gig and desperately needed the money.
But with every single song you write, every single note you play on your instrument, every single match you play in Smash, every word you write, every little thing you do to hone your craft, you’re going to get better and better.
It’s going to take time. It’s going to mean a lot of painful failures. You’re going to feel like you should quit. But if you’re anything like the developers of Angry Birds, or like the Beatles, or J.K. Rowling, you’re going to keep working on your craft. And one day, through consistency and determination, you will find success.