As we age, we grow averse to trying new things. It’s natural, really. For fear of getting hurt emotionally or physically, or from a deeper seated reason for not wanting to change ourselves at all, we stop doing anything new.
Quick test: when was the last time you tried something new? Activity? Food? Trip? Sport? Vacation? Even a new job?
Whatever happened to new things? We get scared off so quickly by these notions. We don’t want anything to upset our lives, even if we’re in a rut. So, we maintain the status quo, keeping things as they are despite the fact that known solutions — better things — await us. It is sad, really. We don’t think we’re capable. We don’t think it will work for us. We say dumb things like, “Sure, she can do that, but I can’t. There’s no way that will work for someone like me.” If only we weren’t so quick to be in our own way. We can be so much happier.
Why don’t we try new things? What are we waiting for? What are we scared of? Sure, we’re scared of getting hurt. Sure, we’re scared of some potential bad thing that might happen. But what we’re mostly scared of is looking bad in front of others. We completely chuck the child’s learning mindset and replace it with the must-look-good-in-front-of-others-at-allcost- mindset. This is a costly mindset in terms of missing out on so much fun and opportunity and potential. Let me repeat that: you are missing out on so much fun, opportunity and potential.
Look at the child trying. They don’t care in the best possible way. They don’t know they should care.
The cost of learning and trying new things is you will suck at them at first. Probably for a few months. Maybe longer. Most people cannot take this sucking period and so they quit or don’t try. They’re too concerned with appearance and looking good in front of others. Young children have the decided advantage of not caring about looking good in front of others while trying new things. They just try. And try. And try. Trial and error. Keep going. Try. Try. Try. Keep going. And they don’t care in the best possible way: they don’t know they’re supposed to care about appearances. Therefore, trying new things is about as natural as it gets for young children. What a fabulous quality, too! It is such a shame we lose this wonderful, innate ability at such a young age.
We don’t try something new because we know — for sure — that we will suck at it so why bother in the first place? Besides, we say, “One of my buddies tried it and got hurt real bad.” Yes, those things happen. But that doesn’t prevent others from trying it daily. Your kids are trying it right now. Wouldn’t it be more fun to do it with them than to stand on the sidelines and watch and drink your coffee and play around on your phone?
Give yourself the permission to suck.
There is a key to trying new things and allowing yourself, giving yourself the permission, to go for it. It is this: you won’t say you suck at it if you’re having fun at it. If you are having fun trying new things and are in them for the sake of doing them, not for the sake of looking good or being a pro out of the gate, you’re in it for the right reasons. And you will likely continue your journeys into new activities just for fun. That is rekindling the beginner’s mind. That is putting fun first. That is equating learning with the joy of doing. And aside from teaching, there is no better way to learn than to do. Change your thinking to put fun first in new activities. It is not about being great out of the gate. It is about exploring the joy of doing, of being an active participant in life. Not being on the sidelines, watching.