It applies to everything. To writing, to sports, to anything you do.
You will never be good enough.
I did not start out awesome at hockey. I took it up when I was 35 and failed pretty miserably to get a job as a paid firefighter after trying for three years, volunteering, doing any number of pretty awesome things including commanding a division of some 30 volunteers and being a firefighter instructor. I’d responded to calls, been in a wildland burnover, done a bunch of EMT work but it wasn’t good enough and I finally had to quit. I was burned out and demoralized.
So I took up a highly physical sport that I had no experience with, presumably as self-flagellation.
No, so seriously. Picture me, my first day on the ice. “Beginner boot camp,” it was called but it was me, the lone beginner, and a class full of mostly Russian and Canadian guys, all of whom had come at 0700 to play hockey not because they were beginners but because the class time didn’t eat into their Saturday plans and it was the only time their wives and girlfriends would let them play.
So me. In borrowed gear, none of which fit and all of which smelled like cat piss. Shoulder pads riding up around my ears, stumping out on the rubber on the ice on skates which felt bulky, awkward, wobbly, unfamiliar.
All the guys skated around. They flew through drills I couldn’t even complete. I’d skate a few feet then fall down, stick flailing. They’d skate around me, like another pylon.
I’d look at the clock each week and say to myself “one more minute. Just stay one more minute.” Then the next minute, I’d say “another minute. Hang in there another minute.” I’d promise myself once I was off the ice and out of gear, I could cry.
And I would, I’d go out and sit in my truck and bawl. About feeling like that, fat and uncoordinated and lacking skill and strength, and about more general and deep personal failure.
You think that moment is over.
You project ahead to some future, idealized you. You place your own value on some future person you want to be, instead of this person here struggling and failing.