The benefits of trying new things
Subject: Don’t be afraid to suck.
I’m a big fan of trying new things. There’s really so many benefits to sow from dipping your toes into something different. You meet new people along with these new activities, a wide array of skills make you more interesting and continuous learning is healthy.
Considering those profits, you’d wonder how so many people seem get stuck in ruts and never appear to change. Well the problem with learning new things, is that you need to start at square one. Usually, that means sucking at whatever the action in question is.
For many, this is a huge blow to the ego. And it becomes larger and larger the older we get. Ever hear the phrase ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’? Well you can, but the old hound dog has to be willing to swallow their ego and embrace instruction and criticism. They mustn’t be afraid to suck.
I’ve held more jobs than I can count, studied different sports, languages, instruments and tasted a diverse array of activities. If anyone can relate and explain to you the feeling and reality of starting from the bottom, again and again, it’s me. I’ve done it so many times, I am accustomed to it, I’m not afraid to suck anymore for awhile because I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Moves like Jagger
I was recently reminded once again how uncomfortable delving into something foreign can be. For a few weeks now I’ve been attending salsa and bachata dance classes. I’d been wanting to study a dance style for awhile now, and finally decided to get after in since being back in Canada with some of the extra free time I have.
The prospect of finally taking the action to work on this and the idea of becoming an expert dancer was exhilarating as I walked into the studio. But early into the actual class I was smacked with the reality of how much work it would take. I was all over the place stumbling around like an idiot at first. Perhaps it’s true white people can’t dance.
There were guys there picking it up faster than me and others who had been coming to the studio for longer than me. It was frustrating to be behind. After that first class my attitude wasn’t as positive as it was when I had first walked in. I needed to mentally regroup and remind myself that I couldn’t compare myself to the others there. And the reality was, even if I did suck, and they all thought I sucked, it didn’t matter. What did matter was staying focused on this to be able to see improve.
What would matter is the people I encounter down the line when I have developed these skills to a proficient level.
Why people are afraid to suck
This is one of the main reasons I think people are too afraid to try new things. They are afraid of sucking. They are afraid of people judging them. But they’re considering it the wrong way; they are thinking short term. Think long term, think about what people will think when you are bad ass at whatever you’ve been practicing. That’s what really matters.
The truth is, if you apply yourself ANYONE can develop to a proficient level at most things. And when you get to that level where you’ve accomplished feats in some activity, you probably won’t care how good or bad people think you are. If you’ve gone that far you’re probably doing it for yourself at that point.
Eventually as the classes went on I began picking it up better and better. Don’t get me wrong, I still suck and have only 50% idea of what is going on at best. But I can see the practice paying off and its definitely become the fun I had envisioned that first day walking in.
Improving yourself hurts the most
It’s usually activities that would take your personal self to the next level of life that we are embarrassed to get started on. Going to the gym is a real big one I find for a lot of people. They are worried about looking stupid or not being at a level similar to people who’ve been working religiously on their bodies for years. Focus on yourself and the chapter you’re on. Anyone who looks down on someone for getting started on something beneficial to themselves is a piece of shit anyway.
The fear of rejection is another reason many people don’t try new things as well. I have to imagine many people wish they were able to stand up in a room full of people and speaking comfortably or approach any potential romantic partner with ease. Fear of the rejection that will proceed from sucking at these skills is what stops people from even being to work on them. Yes, speaking in front of people and starting a cold conversation with people are skills that need to be constantly worked on.
How to be okay with sucking at things
I found that I am able to stop being afraid to suck at something for a while and get to a point where I can work through that period and become capable enough at that skill, from continuously being in uncomfortable situations like that.
Also having confidence that you are okay in other realms help as well. This comes from sticking to something long enough to get good at it. But the kicker here is you need to start somewhere, at something. I feel able enough in my writing skills that I am comfortable showing my works to others at this point. I am embarrassed to go back and read the first posts I ever made on this blog, but I know that those posts were an integral part of the process.
Remember, don’t be afraid to suck
The older we get, the more there is pressure to be accomplished in life. Don’t let that ego get in the way from trying something new that could be great for you. Or you could be great at. Don’t worry about what other people think, they are either jealous or legit wastes of space. They don’t matter. What matters is the people you will wow when you are a master at the craft of your choosing.