The Benefits of Being an Expert Beginner
Why Trying New Things Makes You Smarter
Somewhere along the line we started believing that it was bad to be new at something. We were taught that if we are bad at something we should move along to something else. All day long we see examples of people who are at the top of their game and we forget that they were once a beginner too.
Beyonce is a fierce diva and has had a lifetime to perfect her identity as such. Who are you to think that because your dance moves aren’t as on point that you shouldn’t dance? Is the point always to be the number one absolute best at everything you do?
Our psychology is funny. Our ego wants us to be the best at everything we do. And if we can’t be the best then we trick ourselves into believing that we must be the worst!
Face it people, your ego is a drama queen. She can’t stand being average. She hates feeling like someone else might be better at anything without thinking she, in turn, must be complete trash.
This attitude keeps us safe. It prevents us from getting out there and failing valiantly.
Jay Shetty, author of “Think Like a Monk”, was interviewed by Lewis Howes on his podcast, The School of Greatness. He was talking about how to find your purpose and suggested trying eight new things a month.
Eight new things!
That’s a ton.
He went on to say that we find our purpose by trying things out. By following the activities that draw us in and keep us alive. Not the things we’re good at, but the things that interest us enough to keep at them and diving into the depth of them.
This makes a lot of sense. How can you know what interests you if you aren’t constantly expanding? Even if you are one of the lucky ones who are out there living your dream, what are you doing to grow and expand in your knowledge and depth?
Kids are such a great example here because they are so resilient. They are at this point in their short existence where they don’t expect to be perfect. Constantly being pushed into situations and experiences that force them to grow and expand.
Then somewhere along the line, it stops. Typically this happens once you are out of school. Now working a full-time job and falling into a nice life. Perhaps you still go to the gym, but many leave group sports behind turning this transition. We begin sticking to the things we are good at and rule out the idea of trying new and daring things.
Not wanting to be laughed at, or in fear of breaking a bone, we box ourselves into our safe little lives.
How do you expect to grow and expand if you aren’t trying new things?
What if instead of this pressure to be perfect you accepted being imperfect? What if instead of shying away from the office baseball league you went for it? Accepting the fact that you are not going to be the star player, but you are there to simply have fun. You might surprise yourself and hit a perfectly pitched ball.
We live in a world of awards and achievement. It might seem like a waste of time to pick up an activity for the hell of it. But what if joining the local row club is the perfect strength-building exercise for your body. Helping you to develop your upper body strength in yoga. What if signing up to take piano becomes the activity your brain has been looking for. Helping you to unlock new patterns of thought in your head.
You might never know if you don’t get out there and try.
Push yourself to try new things and get comfortable in the process of putting yourself out there. You will soon find more and more connections happening in your thought process. You will begin to enjoy activities more because new neural pathways are connected that help you to see things differently. You will find that the more things you try the more comfortable you will be being uncomfortable. You will begin to see that it is okay to not have all the answers. You will notice the talents and expertise of those around you and feel more confident asking questions and taking feedback. In short, by being an expert beginner you will become a pro at life.
Whatever goals you’re working toward right now in your life are absolutely achievable if you put in the time and effort. But at some point, you have to begin. All the classes in the world won’t prepare you for what’s going to happen the first day on the job. As the saying goes, “You learn more about a road by traveling it than consulting all the maps in the world.” by Ray Kroc.
Put yourself out there. Be new, be terrible, be willing to grow and learn and watch your life open new pathways that you never thought possible before.