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[ShowUpToGrow] Day 1: Doing your best is not the same as high achievement.

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels

Age 4

I was born in Singapore, to a Chinese mother and English father. My dad was insistent that my younger sister and I went to school in England, so we moved to the UK when I was four years old.

I'm extremely grateful for the start to life I had, we enjoyed the dream childhood in the countryside. It felt safe, and I recall being happy. As I was dropped off at primary school by loving parents, I was always told "Melissa be good at school today" because that was the done thing. There was a binary of 'good' vs 'bad' behaviour. What does this mean? Good behaviours are socially acceptable ones we encourage in children - being quiet, smiling, putting your hand up, the list goes on. Thankfully when I became a primary teacher, thinking had moved on.

Age 17

My school years also helped me develop good working habits as a teenager and young adult. Yes, I was a people pleaser, so I worked hard. Hearing adults in my life praise me for working hard, just affirmed the feedback loop further of course. However, building life skills like focus and concentration have been great to fall back to at times when I've needed to really knuckle down (like now!).

My parents made big sacrifices to ensure my sister and I had the best possible education; going to university was an expected part of the pathway. I was always a straight A student, until it came to my A-levels, when I scored 'D' in a maths paper. At that point, I told myself I wasn't very good at maths, and this paper was proof of that. I know now it is not indicative of anything other than I answered the questions on the day to a D standard.

My dad always told me "Melissa, just do you best. As long as you know you have done your best, you will be at peace." What I heard was "Melissa, I want you to achieve as highly as I know you are capable. As the elder sister, I expect great things from you and will not be satisfied without results to prove this."

Look how different the story I told myself was from the words my dad was telling me!

You can see it can't you? That actually, doing your best at something will always achieve great results, as it is a result of the time you put into something. We can be talking about a very long time too. As I have become more self-aware as an adult, I have realised that my attention flits from one thing to another, so I spread my time thinly, rather than being fully immersed.

Age 37

My story is a privileged one. I understand how lucky I am to have parents who stayed married, to grow up in a happy home, feel safe, had family holidays and celebrate birthdays and Christmas. I'm grateful for everything my parents provided.

It was only after around 4-5 years of roller skating that I finally unlearned that doing your best with something may not achieve the outcome desired straight away. However, given enough time, it always will.

I see roller skating as a journey that reflects the journey of life. #alwaysgrowing

Have you learned any life lessons through roller skating?

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