Do it Badly

Posted 19th of January 2021 by Gill Wier

So, it’s the middle of January, in the middle of a pandemic - it’s not an easy time to make and keep New Year’s resolutions so I wanted to share what has helped me to make and keep (so far!) mine!

In an article about remaining positive during lockdown I read about the principle of “Do it Badly” which is explained by Olivia Remes in her TED talk on How to Cope with Anxiety (7.17 minutes in). She explains that we often put off doing things because we are waiting for the right time or because we are paralysed with indecision about making the right choice.  When we follow the principle of “Do it Badly” this frees us from the high standards that intimidate us and prevent us from making a start.  It frees us up to have a go at something, to take the first step, and when we look back we often find we didn’t do too badly after all.

Having failed to complete a complicated online dance course a few months earlier, I decided that in the New Year I would dance every day even if it was just for 10 minutes in the kitchen while I was making dinner.  I enlisted the support of my young son and we started having “discos” in the lounge each day.  I haven’t worried about dancing well, I have just focused on enjoying myself and I have danced every day this year so far!  I haven’t learned any new steps or completed a programme but it has been fun, lifted my spirits and helped me to feel a little bit fitter. I may even re-visit that dance course soon and have another go, even if I do it badly!

I mentioned “Do it Badly” to a friend and she recently sent me a photo of some simple but lovely pictures she had made with the following message: “Grateful for your “do it badly” motto – having that in mind meant that I sat down and made these”. I was delighted to hear that “Do it Badly” had unlocked her creativity and enabled her to try something new. 

So consider for yourself – what might change for you if you took on the motto of “Do it Badly”?

And can you pass the motto on to a friend?

I’ll finish with a quote from GK Chesterton which Olivia Remes mentions in her talk:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly the first time.”

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