Start at the Beginning

As students struggle to determine how to invest their time wisely, one question dominates the conversation.

Do I make incremental improvement or do I start from the beginning?

In proper CYA fashion, it depends . . .

Starting OverBut what it depends upon may surprise you.Specifically how great do you want to be? That’s the question I ask and most of my students will stutter. They want to be good, but they don’t want to do that much work, or they don’t mind the work, but they don’t want to give up certain cherished notions….

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.

So how great DO you want to be? If you want to be the best, you give up what you think you know and set out to learn from those who know more. You may have to do this more than once. Your odds of success improve dramatically if you find someone who knows “the why” of what he is doing works. After all, if you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.

But if you just want to dream the impossible dream, but you don’t really need to get there, Greatnessthen incremental improvement will work. Incremental improvement will hit a natural ceiling above which you cannot pass without seeking greatness, but you can go far enough with incremental improvement that lots of good folks spend their time here. And that’s okay. But we each have to recognize the difference.

Some areas are for greatness, others are for goodness.

I have this conversation with students daily. If your ability to “hear” the correct answer choice in Sentence Correction is not getting you into the top 1% of test takers, then guess what, it won’t. Not tomorrow, not a year from tomorrow. Yet, so many of us cling to the idea that this will get better if I just keep doing what I’m doing. When instead, we really need to

Start from the Beginning.

If you can be clear with yourself, you know if you’ve sought to master the subject at hand versus plugged along with incremental improvement. Are you getting where you want to go?

If not, shake it up.

This website is a good example. It has been through various iterations as the need and approach has changed, but now I am starting over, from the beginning. With that in mind, we’ll have an entirely new look to debut shortly thanks to the folks at Varick Design.

Image kindly provided by

1 thought on “Start at the Beginning”

  1. Starting from scratch is not exciting and requires effort – perhaps that is why so many people don’t want to go there. But it is necessary to see the change you are after.

    I love the ” if you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur” piece – LOL is all I can say! 🙂

Comments are closed.