Attempting anything new takes a leap of faith. A jump into the unknown. Learning a new skill can bring up some pretty scary, uncomfortable feelings. So how can you cope? You may want to avoid the situation altogether. But if you want to grow as a person, then jump you must.
This topic just so happens to be something that often comes up with my mindfulness teacher. Here’s what I’ve learned from him.
If you search for answers, you will find them
Learning mindfulness has been an incredibly scary challenge for me, not to mention quite expensive. The problem is, I’m not sure how my lessons will positively affect my life long-term, or how I’ll even reach my end goal.
What’s more, when I started lessons two years ago, I didn’t even think I was learning mindfulness. My teacher is technically an Alexander Technique teacher who I hired to help me improve my posture, but I quickly learned that what I thought I signed up for was something entirely different: how to be more present, how to move my body more gracefully and how to think about my life and the world around me. In other words, I was really learning about mindfulness.
It’s been a challenging journey. And when I’ve struggled, feeling like I’m going nowhere, my teacher has offered some comforting words:
If you search, if you keep trying, you will make progress. You will find something, a better version of yourself, even if it isn’t what you originally thought.
My teacher is right.
Even though sometimes I am just searching in the dark, I do make progress, slowly discovering new insights that improve my health and happiness.
The key is to not give up. Whatever you’re after in life, keep searching and you will find. It may take months, years or even a decade, but if you keep going, you will make progress. For this reason, I encourage you to change your mindset…
Think about the learning process as an adventure
To learn something new, be open to new opinions and improve your life today, you must jump into the unknown. If you read my recent post Why you should be open to failure, being wrong and sucking at life, you know this can be exciting. Why? Because you’re discovering a new, better version of yourself. Think about it.
When you get a new smartphone or computer, or even travel to a new country, how do you feel? My guess is excited. The new experiences and gadgets aren’t scary, they’re probably fun.
Learning should be no different. Whether you’re learning a skill or about other people’s religious or political beliefs, why not approach it with the same sense of adventure? You can. You just need to change your mindset, think of the excitement of becoming a new, better version of yourself or how your life will benefit from your new perspective. Remember, this is a process of failure and discovery. But don’t focus so much on the former, focus on the fascinating new things you’ll learn along the way. Focus on the transformation you’ll experience.
Say goodbye to perfection
To flourish in your new skill, stop aiming for perfection. As I touch on in my book An Ordinary Dude’s Guide to Enlightenment, the idea of perfection is just that—an idea. It’s not real. While perfect moments in life may happen, they never last. Life is imperfect by design, so don’t fight it. Embrace it. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start changing your life.
So keep searching. Keep looking. Move forward a little bit each day, and sooner than you know, you’ll be a new, better version of yourself that would amaze the “old” you.