There’s a very specific sensation that accompanies feelings of inadequacy.
It’s this mix of anger, shame, embarrassment, and sadness.
I was engrossed by this sensation a few months ago while learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Home from college with nothing to do, the Rubik’s Cube I’d owned for almost a decade started tormenting me. I searched for a solution on YouTube and started tinkering around.
I was good for about two steps, then things started getting complex.
All of a sudden, I was watching the instructor make a move in slow motion, but then failing to replicate it immediately after.
Am I missing something? Is there something wrong with my cube? Am I just dumb?
I scrambled to find answers to explain my struggle.
Too frustrated to continue, I gave up for the day. In any other time, that may have been the end of the story. Because it was the beginning of quarantine, I had nothing better to do and decided to spend 20 minutes per day learning until I solved it.
Within 10 days, I was solving the Rubik’s Cube effortlessly.
I truly believe it’s a project everyone should take on. Here’s why.
Magic is boring. That’s a good thing.
Years ago, I had a friend who could solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute.
It seemed like magic watching his hands move so quickly. I thought he was some sort of genius.
He told me he wasn’t special and it was just a matter of learning a few algorithms, but I figured he was just being modest.
After learning to do it myself, I’m here to report he was right. If you can remember a handful of algorithms (moves), you can learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
In a sense, it was a bit disappointing to realize this feat I assumed was only achievable for a select few can be learned by almost anyone. In another sense, it’s extremely inspiring.
Think about everything you know a lot about that most people don’t. It may be a sport, field of study, type of music, or anything else.
It may seem completely normal to you, but to someone else it probably seems like magic.
Take a look at this. I don’t play any instruments and have no ambitions of making an album at any point in the future. To me, the process of creating a song seems like some impossible alchemy I’m not capable of. Then I saw this…
I’m not saying it’s easy to write pop songs, but hearing that definitely took a lot of the mystery away.
These revelations should inspire you. Literally anything you want to accomplish in life can be broken down into steps. If you commit to learning each step, you’ll eventually achieve your goal.
Now, knowing the steps is a lot different from actually being able to do each of them, but it’s still an encouraging start.
We may not be able to do it just yet, but even a goal as ambitious as putting humans on Mars can be broken down into achieveable steps. It looks like magic to the rest of us when a space shuttle takes off into space, but in reality it’s just following various laws of physics.
However ambitious your goals are, learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube will help you internalize the process of learning in steps and demystify what you don’t yet understand.
Stand on every giant’s shoulders
If I had decided to learn how to solve the cube myself, I’d probably still be stuck on the second step. I’m not saying it’s impossible to learn how to do things by yourself, but you’re slowing yourself down if you do.
Unless you’re trying to do something inconceivable, there are people out there who have already achieved your goals. These people started out where you are now and went on to achieve great things. They’ve dealt with the obstacles you’re currently dealing with, as well as struggles you don’t even know are coming down the road.
You’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t learn from these people.
Whether it’s a book, online course, YouTube video, or personal mentorship, most of the information you need to achieve your goals is sitting out there.
In fact, everyone in the history of the world who accomplished something impressive had less information available to them than you do in this moment.
Really think about that for a second.
Why would you not take advantage of it?
I watched around 10 different videos before finding the website I found easiest to learn from.
With so much information available to you, your struggle will be finding the best information. Still, it’s a small price to pay if you want to accelerate your pursuit of your goals.
Great is really hard, but above average is pretty easy
There are people out there who can solve the cube in less than five seconds.
That’s absolute madness, and I can confidently say I’ll never get there.
Maybe I could if I dedicated a lot of time to it, but I’m not interested in that. I just wanted to learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I have no goals relating to speed.
This is a trap I see a lot of people fall into. When thinking about learning something new, they say they’ll never be as good as Kobe, Musk, or Morrison, which means they shouldn’t even bother starting.
I think this happens because of the emphasis our society places on the ideas of greatness and mastery. Sure, genuinely mastering something may take 10,000+ hours.
The thing is, you don’t have to be world-class at everything. In fact, there’s a lot of value in being pretty good at a bunch of things and great at one or two.
Solving a Rubik’s Cube showed me that it’s often not that hard to become above average at something.
Most people won’t even bother trying to learn it in the first place. Some will drop off when they can’t get it right on the first day. A few more will fall off with each passing day. A couple will learn how to do it, but then forget because they never brush up on their skills. A select few will truly learn how to do it, and then a sliver of those people will go on to become world-class.
I didn’t do anything special. There were no Herculean efforts. I was just bored and decided to try something for 20 minutes per day until it worked.
Often times, that’s enough to become far better at something than most people will ever be.
Boring, I know.
The bar is low, what are you going to do about it?
Get Small Wins
The actual skill of solving a Rubik’s Cube is pretty useless, to be completely honest.
It won’t make me any money, get me a job, or really have any tangible benefit.
So what’s the point?
It’s a small win.
It took me 10 days to learn how to do something I’d always thought was impossible. When I first started, I felt stuck and thought I’d never be able to do it. Now here we are.
The learning process for almost any skill is similar.
The difference is, it’s entirely realistic to fully learn how to solve a cube in just a few days.
The confidence of knowing you can learn how to do something new and intimidating will then carry over into every other thing you do.
Order your Rubik’s Cube today and get after it. I promise you won’t regret it.