"No matter the change required, the truth is we keep ourselves in our own holding cells when it comes to advancing as a human being"
We are what we practice and every day we are practicing skills that we just have no awareness of. When it comes to finding the courage to practice something new that we either should or need to be doing, all the excuses in the book come falling to the floor why there’s other stuff fetching our attention. They pile on like the encrustations under the hull of ship. Above water she could look a great ship but underneath there needs some elbow grease.
Age will be our biggest competitor of change as the years tick over with it’s powerful right hook, left jab reversal to familiarity. Each decade we solidify routine and habits that will stay with us so whenever we stand up to meet change in the ring it can knock us back to our side. We can have the worlds best friends, coaches, assistants to give advice and support but unless we stay in the ring for “having a go”, we will land on our behinds and remain forever in the corner. The bell of the next round dings loudly and without knowing it, this could be your final melee in life. Death comes to us all, but as to which round we will be knocked out, is left up to God. Some will be full of years before that day and some may be destined for an earlier departure. I myself am not above the temptation of squandering of time, and so need reminding. Our daily choices to use time wisely will ensure we leave an impact in this world, gloves on or off. That impact will depend on how often you ‘gave it a go’, whatever it maybe. If lucky, there is some delight in discovering it wasn’t so bad to face.
When I talk of trying new things I mean life experiences and gaining skills to improve ones self. You may of heard of ‘soft skills’ and ‘hard skills’. The former are interpersonal skills that might commonly be seen on somebody’s curriculum vitae. Vague descriptions by nature, these words are attributed loosely yet are highly desirable. Good communicator, articulate, listens well, good time manager, problem solver, critical thinker, team player etc, tick this box. The latter are teachable and more measurable skills that you obtain through standard learning methods like courses at school, university or on the job.
No matter the change required, the truth is we keep ourselves in our own holding cells when it comes to advancing as a human being. The shutter doors aren’t even closed, yet we stay in the comfort of those 3 and a half walls. What scares us is what is outside of them. We don’t attempt to try stuff anymore because we fear to fail. We don’t want to fail because of how foolish we look in front of others. Impostor-ism will perch the shoulder at night and lend word to our ears that we aren’t being ‘genuine’, ‘true to ourselves’ or ‘authentic’ while learning a new thing. Alienation from friends and family because of sudden change does occur because of this, which is absurd yet sometimes true. Leaving the jail cell of familiarity is safer within the imagination not unlike the unpredictable present. Within the fantasy of the mind anything can be controlled, measured, tested. Real life is not like that.
I’ll get to that.
This year. This is the year I’ll try.
I’m embarrassed to try.
I’ll change my miserable career after I accomplish___.
I’m never going to be perfect at ___ so I’m going to wait until I know I will be okay.
I have experienced and said all of the above to myself and it is a real tangled mess to get out of. Here is some advice to de-tangle
4 Tips to Having a Go at New Things
#1 You’ll Inspire More People Than Will Annoy–
The first thing worth knowing is that people need role models to compare to. Comparison of others is not always the red devil it’s often portrayed because we learn no other way. When done in a non-idolatrous and critically thought out way, you are marginally better off than by only relying on yourself and strictly being self taught. Take off the badge of pride.
Remember, we do not know the day or time we die and seeking mentors while trying to be one ourselves to people on the same path (Make sure to offer advice, don’t give it unsolicited) will help goals remain in focus with satisfaction and time efficiency at the forefront. For example a person who is 10-15 years older might be (pick wisely) a good mentor for skills in career and social advice, while gleaning from people 20 and 30 years your senior will give you different perspectives on the things of life and wisdom of a life lived (hopefully) well.
#2 Opportunity on the Job–
There is no two ways about it… Where we work is often the place we spend the most time of our week and that will change us greatly. Employers are looking for people that yes can do the job at the end of the day but don’t under value raw show of willingness to learn. It gives you credit as teachable, flexible and persistent. I am guilty of staying within ‘what I know’ so as not to risk looking bad at something new but it’s a foolish undertaking. For what is a quick fix for the sake of comfort, it comes at the expense of job satisfaction in the long run. Conquering a new skill and being trusted with new projects is one of the best feelings you will experience in life. We all learn at different paces so it will take a tough mind for some, to persist through a fresh skill. Communicate the difficulties you have not just with your boss but open up to colleagues. The missing key to success of a new skill is usually just hearing the same thing in a different voice as is often found.
#3 No substitute For Time–
Time put in can rarely be substituted when learning – to ‘muck in’ as the British would put it... take the extra study classes, do the early mornings, and offer up some late nights – do whatever to plug the holes of the skill gap. I have had this experience with the web design of this site which came at a cost and is by no means perfect still but I have direct satisfaction in the extra work invested into it. Don’t give up just because a reward is hard fought for. Your character will be sharpened and your patience will of lengthened by the time the goal is achieved. You are fighting for much more than a new skill, the change goes much broader and wider than imagined.
#4 Choose Reality Not Fantasy–
Just like mentioned before – Choosing between the fantasy or the reality of trying new things is tough business. Choosing reality will always be the more rewarding, even if it kicks you in the teeth – You’ll have something to show for it. Nobody can look inside your mind and admire the actions that were frozen in time but they will when they see you taking on the horns of challenge. How many dreams have been squashed in the history of the world because people lived in their mind about something and not the present. Decide today that will not be you.
Opening yourself up to new things rarely gets easier. With the right attitude and right people around however, we can avoid some of the procrastination the mind affords us.
Take courage and have a really bad go at something new today, you might inspire others over their own battle for change after all.