Being A Constant Student

By Zig Ziglar

One of the great philosophical truths of success in life was taught to me by Steve Brown, a motivational speaker from Atlanta, Georgia. He accurately observed that “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–until you can learn to do it well.”
The reality is none of us can automatically do everything well the first or sometimes even the 50th time we make the effort, but the only way we will grow and have a life that’s truly productive is to always be a student and learn things as we go along.

The problem is far too many people have false pride and fear embarrassment if they do not perform well in front of their peers. Hence, they grow stagnant and really never become the people they were created to be.

A classic example of this dawned on me on Friday, November 12, 2005, when my son and I were playing golf. I shared with my son that when I was in the seventh grade I had become adept at the game of ping pong (or table tennis, whichever you prefer).

I was doing well, winning matches with my classmates of many years. Then a youngster named Jess Hendricks from Indianola, Mississippi, moved to Yazoo City.

Soon after, we met and became friends and started playing some ping pong. Although I had been winning over my classmates, Jess cleaned my platter big time! He was really dominating me.

As I pondered what was happening, I realized I was using a different grip from the one he was using. I was using the grip that put my thumb and forefinger around the paddle. What that means simply is that I could only hit the ball back under ideal circumstances.

Jess used the handshake grip, meaning that he put his hand around the paddle by grasping it with his fist and stuck his finger on the other side of the paddle. This gave him dramatically more freedom and force when he went for the “slam.”

He was, as I say, dominating me to an embarrassing degree, so I determined it was the difference in the way we held the paddle.

I shifted to doing the same thing he was doing and initially he just beat me worse than before. But after a few games I started to gain confidence and my defeats were getting less and less. The day came when I was able to beat Jess at ping pong.

I’m convinced that had I stubbornly stuck to the grip and approach I had been using I never would have beaten him. Yes, anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. I became a much better player and actually won the championship in our little school in Yazoo City.

I’m hopeful the message is clear that if you really want to move up in life and enjoy it to the fullest, whatever you do you need to be a constant student and buy into that philosophy.