The Awkward Beginner Phase of Anything, and Why It’s Worth It

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” — Epictetus

Very few individuals benefit from the feeling of being a newbie.

That awkward, bumbling newbie section is one thing most individuals will do absolutely anything to keep away from. I do know this as a result of I prevented being unhealthy at issues for many of my life, selecting as an alternative to at all times play to my strengths.

Growing up, I wouldn’t even attempt one thing new until I used to be moderately certain I’d be good at it. I adopted this identical technique till round my mid-twenties, once I realized that I’d want to start out placing myself in difficult and uncomfortable conditions or threat remaining the identical particular person for the remaining of my life.

I’ve examined my willingness to be a newbie numerous instances over time, pushing myself out of my consolation zone by doing issues like taking over handstands, writing my first e-book, touring, and residing world wide. Most not too long ago, I started coaching in martial arts. After feeling considerably athletically competent for years, coaching components of taekwondo, Judo, karate, and jiu-jitsu immediately transported me again to being an entire newbie.

The different day, my martial arts coach taught me a brand new talent referred to as a twister kick, a 360 roundhouse kick that’s thought-about fundamental degree at finest for any taekwondo practitioner.

I didn’t develop up doing martial arts or gymnastics and don’t have any pure means for both. Now, in my thirties, something involving twisting feels particularly overseas to me.

I used to be acutely conscious of my thought course of as I started to work the talent, feeling the epitome of silly and silly.

Sitting with Discomfort

The following is what went via my head as my coach started to show me a twister kick:

He begins by exhibiting me the talent at full velocity. It seems like nothing however a blur to me. My mind can’t comprehend what’s taking place. My cheeks begin to flush. I can’t even let you know which course he’s twisting, not to mention any of the particular components that make up the transfer. How many instances is he turning? Which leg is kicking in what course? I don’t have the slightest clue. I really feel a rush of disgrace and embarrassment that I don’t perceive what I do know is a fundamental talent (see an instance of what it ought to appear to be right here).

He urges me to attempt it. The voice in my head tells me it’s unimaginable, pointless even to attempt. My physique looks like lead. I don’t transfer.

Seeing my hesitation, he begins breaking it down. He exhibits me every bit of the talent individually and slowly. Although it seems cool, in concept, it’s not a very sophisticated transfer — there’s a step, and a knee up, and then a roundhouse chill to common preventing stance. 

My physique remains to be preventing me, however I override it and give it a shot. I’m distinctly conscious of the voice in my head as I fumble via my preliminary makes an attempt. It tells me fairly forcefully that it’s an excessive amount of too late in life for me to start out studying a talent like this. It insists that I’ll by no means get higher even when I work at it for years, so any makes an attempt I make are only a waste of time. But principally, it’s telling me to cease attempting and surrender proper now.

The voice sounds just like the voice of a toddler. I’m immediately transported again to childhood and battle to compose myself, lest I unintentionally stomp my foot in protest and run off to cry within the nook. 

It doesn’t assist that there are only a few different full rookies round. We are coaching in a gymnastics-style fitness center that caters to martial artists, parkour athletes, and stunt performers. Everyone else within the fitness center appears to be performing kicks and spins rather more troublesome with ease. I drive myself to proceed to observe rep after rep even when all I can assume of is how horrible I have to look.

I catch glimpses of myself within the mirror and verify that, sure, I look simply as pitiful as I anticipated. I attempt tougher to close out the voice in my head and maintain throwing reps in between stretching breaks. I remind myself that nobody was born studying to kick, spin, or do cool methods. Every single particular person goes via this awkward newbie stage.

Sure, some individuals undergo it at a a lot youthful age, so the reminiscences of that awkwardness could have pale way back. And some individuals are born with extra expertise and coordination than the remaining of us.

But because the psychologist Angela Duckworth and creator of Grit places it, “as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”

Being Willing to Try

One factor I do know I can do at this level in my life is put in effort. I will not be essentially the most naturally gifted athlete or the quickest to be taught, however the means to work laborious when others would possibly give up way back grew to become an element of who I’m. I’ve gotten via this awkward newbie stage many instances earlier than; I can do it once more.

Feeling a way of competency or mastery is one of the best emotions we are able to have as human beings. But with out placing ourselves in these awkward newbie phases to start with, we are going to by no means know simply how far we are able to push ourselves. To proceed to develop, to succeed in even a portion of our potential, we’ve to permit ourselves to attempt within the first place.

In different phrases, we’ve to embrace feeling silly and silly.


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