One of my favorite books to read to my boys is the Piggie and Gerald series from Mo Willems. Last night we read Watch Me Throw the Ball and it made me think about how important the right mindset is.
In the story Gerald is bragging to Piggie about how great he is at throwing the ball and how much practice it took him to be great at it.
It takes skill and practice. I worked very hard to learn how to throw a ball.
Piggie is undeterred and spends the next few pages “practicing” before unleashing her big throw… which slips out of her hand and lands behind her, out of sight. Piggie stares out in the distance, searching for the ball. Gerald, feeling haughty, says “Piggie, the ball is behind you”. To which Piggie replies…
Wow Gerald, I threw the ball all the way around the world!
Gerald is flabbergasted and explains that Piggie most certainly did not throw the ball around the world. Piggie shrugs and says that it’s ok, she had fun anyway, leaving Gerald even more astounded.
The Ball is in the Same Place
I was thinking about this and found it interesting that no matter if the ball fell behind Piggie or flew around the world… it ended up in the same place. She threw the ball and it landed, regardless of distance traveled.
Creative work, uphill work, and new habits are actually a lot like throwing the ball. People tell us it takes skill and practice, it takes years to do it right. In some ways that’s true, and in other ways you just need to throw the ball.
Where it lands is kinda inconsequential. If the attempt is for you what’s important is that you threw the ball, did the thing, completed the loop and kept a promise to yourself. If it’s for others then actually doing the thing is even more critical. Where it lands is the least important part of the process!
More views, more entries, more more more is the most celebrated - but anywhere your attempt lands there will be people who need to see it. It could be that even the “wrong-way” attempt is the one that becomes your breakthrough piece.
You don’t control the landing spot most times, just the throw. So keep throwing!