What are you ALMOST good at?

It took me two years to publish my first good article.

I’m not joking. 24 months.

I went through dozens of drafts and a ton of feedback before I finally hit “publish”.

I can’t say that I’ve since become a great writer – far from it – but I’ve definitely Crossed The Threshold.

These days when I sit down to write, I know I’ll be able to convey my message effectively. Playing with words can still be challenging, but I enjoy the process every time.

Are you familiar with The Threshold?


You know you’ve reached the Threshold when you make a giant leap and everything changes for you.

Behind this Threshold lies an amazing world where you get to experience a disproportionate amount of flow and pleasure.

You know what the Threshold looks like (and feels like) for bicycle riding for example:

  • you’re comfortable riding in a straight line,
  • you can turn left and right without putting a foot down,
  • you’re capable of  slowing down and accelerating without falling,
  • and you can smoothly come to a complete stop.

For most skills, though, the Threshold can be hard to pinpoint. (What would it look like if you were working on public speaking? or learning how to cut hair?)

If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you’re aren’t likely to hit your target.

Identifying the Threshold is key if you wish to get good at any new skill. Once you’ve crossed that Threshold, you’ll hold on to your skill for life. (You’ll never forget how to ride a bike, will you?)

Most people quit before they reach the Threshold, often without knowing how close they were to it. They put in so much effort but don’t get to reap the rewards.

I’m going to help you make sure this never happens again.

Next week, I’ll share the 7 phases you must go through to reach the Threshold and experience disproportionate results. I’ll give you the tools to identify the Threshold.

But first, I want to hear from you.

Share a skill you’ve had a hard time with and would like to be able to cross the threshold in.

Leave a comment below, and tell me what that skill is and where you’re stuck. (Bonus points if you can describe what the threshold might look like for you).

I’ll go first:

I’ve just joined a trampolining class with a Gymnastics coach. I’m in the very early stages, getting comfortable on the trampoline and learning the basics of front and back flips. Getting a sense of where my body is when inverted is a real challenge. In my case, the Threshold is the stage where I can comfortably and reliably execute the following tricks on the trampoline (this can sound a little technical): front and back tuck, front and back layout. Half twist & full twist would be like icing on the cake.

Here’s my current front tuck:

View post on imgur.com

I’ll share the best comments in next week’s post.

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  1. Love the video! I find it very difficult to define the threshold. I guess I’ve quit before many small activities (guitar, piano, yoga…) but the most difficult one is dieting !! Now that is a tough one, that I think many of us quit before achieving our goal 😉 But the real question is once you’ve achieved your threshold how to maintain that level.

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      Thanks for sharing Sarah.
      I’d like to challenge you to find a better example than dieting for this particular exercise. I’m not sure we could qualify it as a skill with with a clear Threshold: if you become great at dieting, does that mean you’ll keep that skill for life and be able to successfully diet whenever you like in the future? I’m not sure.

      Guitar, piano, and yoga, make more sense here. Would you like to choose one of these three or a new one? The one that has been the most challenging, or the one you’ve most recently struggled with?

  2. Thanks to your guitar class, I am now truly independent, but I still have not reached my thresholds. 1. I have a lot of trouble finding the right strum for a song I would like to sing and I have to watch others do it on the internet. Even then I wind up inventing a strum which is not always excellent. 2. I find I have to work an inordinate amount of time to learn to play a song. I would like to be able to listen to a song and be able to improvise and play it, but for the moment I have to watch things like “How to play……” I will reach my threshold when I can do both things.

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      You have high standards!
      I understand what you mean, though. Keep on learning new songs with different strums and before you know it, you’ll be able to ‘improvise’ a strum for the song you want to play next.
      Next week you’ll be able to point out exactly what phase you are in, and how close you are to crossing the Threshold.

  3. Béatrice says:

    Singing seems to be my trampoline. Joining a group of friends to sing was a fluke, a yes said to a friend more to be able to see more of her than real hope to improve. After a lot of laughter and many errors, I am starting to sing alone for pleasure. We sang in front of friends but thanks to “moritos” everybody was happy. I would love to know where my threshold is in order to build more confidence. Thanks to friendship and the sheer pleasure of singing for an hour with friends I haven’t quit. Improvements have occurred almost without my realizing it…. there is hope !

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      Good for you!
      Singing can be very linked to how self-conscious we feel. That’s why working on this skill can have such a profound impact on the rest of your life and your overall confidence.
      As you wait for next week’s post, I’d like you to think about what singing would look like for you if it was easy (think about specific scenarios that would occur)

  4. I’m learning how to walk in a slackline, those lines that you attach in trees for tension and than walks in them. I believe the threshold there is being able to sit, stand, turn around and jump in the line with balance. At the moment I can only walk in it, and sometimes I’m able to turn around. Jumping is really difficult!

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      Great example Gabriel. I’ve tried slacklining once and it’s definitely a challenge (High on my to-learn list).
      I recommend you write down your Threshold on a piece of paper and put it up somewhere you’ll see it often (Bathroom?).
      Be relentless in your drive to reach the Threshold. Don’t settle for anything else.
      (In the next post, you’ll be able to identify what stage you currently at)

  5. Wayne Federation says:

    Thank you for your words of wisdom and your course of course. My threshold is putting my poems to music. Poetry has been cathartic in my quest to control my PTSD. I have enough poems to publish a book. My aim is to include a CD of vetrans singing some of my poems.

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      Thanks Wayne!
      That’s a lovely goal. When you read the next post (detailing each phase leading to the Threshold), I’d like you to get into more detail.
      What exactly does that Threshold look like? A song can be as little as two chords (as you know) and as complicated as you’d like. If the Threshold isn’t crystal clear, you won’t be able to reach it (or won’t know if you did).

  6. Paul-Adrien says:

    I’m riding a fixed gear bike for over a year now. Because of a knee injury, I wasn’t able to stop properly, so I was still using the brakes. Now, I’m all good. But I still can’t stop quickly enough without using the brakes. I’ve managed to slow down easily, and stopped at the end, but well, sometimes you’ll need to stop the bike more quickly. I guess the fear of not stopping early enough the bike doesn’t help, but still, I see a lot of guys ridding their bike and able to stop whenever they want. So, let’s see how to reach my Threshold, without dying on the road….!

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      It seems as though you are very close to reaching your Threshold. Good!
      I’d suggest taking some time to deliberately work on this skill until it becomes second nature. I’m guessing that right now you are working on it little by little everytime you take your bike out to go somewhere, right?

      Here’s my suggestion:
      Watch a few youtube videos, or find someone who can do it well already and is willing to help you out, and commit to taking your bike out a few times a week with the sole aim to get this technique down. Go to an open space, put a helmet on (and knee guards?) and work at it.

      Then come back here and share your success with us 😉

  7. charlotte larsen says:

    My threshold is playing and singing one of my own songs in front of local songwriters.
    When I can do that in a relaxed and way and confident way I have reached a threshold.
    I am working on it and have set a date.
    Thank you for a great blog.

    Greetings Charlotte

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      I love it Charlotte. Is that date in less than 2 weeks? If not, would you consider moving it?

      Notice how you structured your comment:
      Sentence 1: My threshold is playing & singing my song in front of local songwriters.
      Sentence2: When I can do that in a relaxed way…

      I let you in on a secret (that you might already know): acting on sentence #1 is only a matter of fear and courage and has nothing to do with your skill.
      Sentence #2 is what it’s all about. That takes practice and learning.

      My suggestion:
      Get rid of step #1 as fast as possible. Even if you fail it will be amazing, and you’ll be able to start moving forward towards your real goal: “Feeling comfortable singing your songs to other songwriters.”

      You could train for years and still you wouldn’t feel comfortable the first time you played in front of your desired audience. It’s only by doing it over and over that you’ll get there.

      I’m very excited for you!

  8. I have been reading and to my dismay, I still have no idea of what you mean when you say”your threshold”

    • Tristan de Montebello says:

      Hey David, I realize I had missed this comment of yours. I’m very sorry.
      Take a look at this article where I get into a lot of detail on the 7 steps to the Threshold: http://aboutthestart.com/learn-anything/
      If that doesn’t do it, please send me an email with your questions and we’ll continue de conversation.

  9. I’m learning to paint…well, first to draw then paint.
    I guess my Threshold would be when I’m able to perfectly sketch two subjects that I’ve selected with my tutor (make that + the 1 of Leo DiCaprio that I’m gonna sketch tonight) perfectly. “Perfect” is a sketch that truly replicates the subjects and is “alive”. I am also sharing my journey to that point with friends on IG….When I’m getting to that point, I’ll re-do the sketches I mentioned

    Everyone gets to judge whether I have truly scaled the Threshold or not


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