How to Improve at Anything

We all have an idea or image in our head of the person we’d like to become. Maybe fitter, maybe smarter, maybe kinder, whatever you’d like to work on and grow into. This, to me, is version 5.0 you.

What do I mean by this?

Anything new you start, you are basically at version 1. Let’s say you want to get more fit and energized this year. You have a vision in your mind of what that might look like. That VISION might be you, version 5.

But what does version 1 look like? NOT like version 5!!!

It will be awkward. It will, in some respects, stink.

Give yourself permission to be lousy at it to start, to be bad at it.

If you’re starting to exercise, your form will NOT be perfect. You’ll be able to do way less reps, or time, than you’d like to. You’ll be sweating, alot!!! You will NOT look like those people in the heath and fitness magazines.

But guess what…to get to that point, you HAVE to go through the ugly stage, the stinky stage, the version 1 stage of you getting healthier, to get to the version 2, 3, 4 and finally 5 of you that you envision and dream of.

Guess what happens if you’re not willing to go through that? To suffer the embarrassment, and unsureness of version 1, of stinking…YOU NEVER EVER GET TO VERSION 5!!!

This is what so many of us forget. To get better, means that the starting point will NECESSARILY not be pretty!!!!

But this is how ALL growth happens. You have to persevere through this to get the future you that you want.

What happens if you don’t want to go through this ugly, stinky, unsure phase?


In fact, that’s not entirely true. By doing nothing, this does not mean you stay the same. Guess what time does, and gravity, and age…if you’re not ACTIVELY working to get better as you get older, YOU’RE GETTING WORSE.

Sorry, it’s not fair, I know. The same rules that apply to an 18 year old, unfortunately do NOT apply to us as we’re in our 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.

As I like to say, the only way to coast…IS DOWNHILL.

So, if there’s something you want to do, or a lifestyle you want to live as you get older, take the first step. Embrace version 1, in all its ineptitude, and stinkiness.

What is your version 1? What are you wanting to start on or change, even if you’re not completely sure of the path, or even where to start?

Is it cleaning up your diet? Or starting to exercise? Or getting to bed earlier? Or really any healthy habit, or project you want to start on.

I was just talking to a patient about a kitchen renovation he is starting, and he said it’s already a big mess. And guess what…that’s normal! That’s how anything new starts, that’s version 1…on the way to it being finished and beautiful and refined, version 5.

So, as Nike said, and had right, just do it! Just start on it, even if it’s not pretty…which it won’t be. Guaranteed.

You know who I really admire. People at the gym, who clearly are just starting out, and don’t really know what they’re doing. They may be 20 or 50 or 100 lbs overweight, they don’t have all the fancy gear, they’re sweating, a lot…but they’re still doing it! That’s what counts. It’s not pretty, but the only way to get pretty, to get to that next stage, that version 2 or 3, is to go through that.

So just start, and be proud of version 1 of you. And keep persevering. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with consistent effort, over time.

Because guess what, when you are at version 5 of yourself, or even version 2 or 3, you’ll laugh at all you learned to get to where you are now. And you’ll also smile, knowing that CHOOSING to go through version 1 was one of the BEST choices you ever made.

Here’s to version 1 of you!

If you have any questions, or wonder how to get to version 3 or 5 of you, please ask.

All the best, Dr. Byron Mackay

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