It is no secrete that I love learning or tying new things. I even wrote a blog post about always learning just a few short weeks ago, (It can be found here). But the process of learning something that is new, challenging and exciting can some times be a bigger mental game than a physical one. At least for me.
When I want to try something for the first time I’m usually pretty excited and a little nervous because of the unknown. A totally normal feeling that we all experience! But what comes next is always a roller coaster of emotions surround the activity. (I don’t mean crying hysterically.) You see I am a perfectionist, I hold myself to a high (sometimes unattainably high) standard. If I am trying a new sport or activity I always want to perform at a really high level right from the start. This can be a hindrance or a huge bonus depending on which way I go.
You see there is this small time frame in-between trying something new and getting good at it that I absolutely hate. It usually comes about after I have given the new activity several tries, I have established that I am ok at it but I still haven’t fully gotten the hang of it. I get so frustrated when I am not naturally amazing at something new within the first 10 minutes. I get even more frustrated when I don’t make noticeable improvement within the first 5. Silly I know but this is my process and I have gone through it time and time again. You see I’ve always had this natural pull to all things physically active and I usually pick things up pretty quickly, but this doesn’t prevent my little “I want to be better now” monster from jumping straight in front of me. This is the critical moment when I have the choice to pursue something that I was kinda good at to start and actually put in the effort…. or to back off and say, Im not good enough now and I don’t want to focus my energy to get good.
In everything physically active there are always so many little tricks, small body movements and just generally getting the feel for it that make the activity soo much easier. But learning that, letting it become engrained with in your body takes time, effort and honestly just doing it a bunch. That time is what always gets me. So many things you can’t just muscle through you have to learn and finesse and more often than not gracefully accomplishing what ever task is at hand. I hate that, I hate that time frame when I have to make the decision to continue to be mediocre and muscle my way through, or to give in to the entire process of learning. To let my mind go and to allow my body to feel and comprehend what is going on. Giving up the mental control of my actions, Is a really hard thing for me to do. But each and every time I have done it I am always so thankful I did. Because that time in-between trying it for the first time and really getting the feel for it is always short, but so important!
Thinking to much about every little thing slows down the learning curve (in most sports). The moment we allow ourselves to get out of our own way, to let our bodies adapt to the new activity, is the moment we start improving in leaps and bounds. **
**Obviously I am not saying to not educate yourself, Being well informed is the start to a lasting and successful experience, but over thinking will get in your way and prevent you from really experiencing what you are doing, In all aspects of life!