Try Something New
Maybe it’s because we’re still relatively early in a new school year, which always puts me in mind of learning new things. Or maybe I’m just in a rut and really need a chance to do something different. But whatever it is, I found Matthew Cutts’ TEDTak on “Trying Something New for 30 Days” just the right thing this morning.
I’ve had three experiences like this that were incredibly energizing. First, when my oldest child started Suzuki violin lessons 10 years ago, I took lessons, too. At first this was a requirement of the method of instruction – Suzuki parents normally take 4 or 5 lessons to familiarize them with what will be expected of the child and give them a tactile experience of the various hand positions, etc., that the child will need to learn. But after that first month of instruction, I found I enjoyed it so much that I kept at it for two years, and both the practicing and the lessons were some of the most enjoyable moments of every day. (Full confession: after those two years, my position changed, and I had to stop playing for lack of time…and I still miss it.)
Then, two Christmases ago, my family got me a month-long class at a Mosaic studio and, again, even though I didn’t know what I was doing when I started, I thoroughly enjoyed it and still go over there when I can to work on mosaic projects.
Finally, this blog was meant as a short-term experiment – Lenten devotions across 40 days – and by the time I was “done” it was hard to stop. Six month later, I’m still writing….
The key, I think, is sticking with it long enough, as Cutts says, to allow it become something of a habit. And four to six weeks is usually about how long that takes. The other key is willing to live with the uncomfortable feeling most adults have when we try something new, something we don’t know how to do and so, naturally, aren’t very good at. Because adults derive most of our identity from our competencies, when we are placed in new situations of learning our anxiety skyrockets. But give it a month, and you’ll discover not only that you’re getting better at whatever it may be, but – perhaps more importantly – that the world didn’t end and friends and colleagues didn’t lose respect for you just because you proved you’re not good at everything!
Cutts’ Talk takes 3 minutes. Then you’re invited to give 30 days. So what might you do? What would you love to do or try or change but didn’t think you could? Go ahead – give it a try. Who knows – you might just discover a new passion, accomplish a new thing, or simply take a break from the everyday routine that can get anyone just a little down.
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