Here’s the thing about being an adult. You already know how to do a lot of stuff.
In fact, there may be entire weeks where you can comfortably handle anything that comes your way. You sail through tasks ranging from buying an airline ticket to organizing a party to generating a TPS report. Success is your norm, which is awesome.
Yet there is also one big consequence to your competence.
You might not have a very high tolerance for being really bad at something,
which is a shame because the way to get better at anything goes like this:
1) Try doing something.
2) Make a ton of mistakes.
3) Do the thing again making slightly fewer mistakes.
4) Repeat Step 3 a lot.
I often think back to the distinct difference I saw between the kids and adults who I used to teach as a swim instructor. Kids, who are constantly learning new things, would get in the water, relax, and try to do what I told them. By contrast adults would tense up, attempt whatever they thought swimming might feel like, and only as a last resort listen to my instructions.
The kids learned faster. When they made mistakes they didn’t take it personally. They didn’t worry about how silly they might look. They just tried, adjusted, and found a lot of pleasure in splashing me when they kicked really hard.
The next time you want to get better at something, particularly something that you don’t have much experience with, I recommend you adopt a stance similar to my youngest swimming pupils.
Relax. Expect to make mistakes. Listen to the feedback of more experienced people. Stick with it until your fingers turn all pruny.
You’ll be doing a cannon ball into the deep end in no time.
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