When we learned to walk we were not overnight successes. We learned to crawl, then stand, then teeter, then take a step and most importantly, we learned that falling was okay and getting back up an essential part of the process.
When we learned to read we did not know how to make sense of the letters instantaneously. In fact, we didn’t even know what the letters were before we began the process. We had to be taught, vowel by vowel, consonant by consonant what each letter and combination was. It took mispronunciation, stutters and trips and hesitations before we truly got a grasp of what it was the words were trying to say, and what we needed to know to understand them.
And we kept learning. New things. Unknown things. Things we’d never done before.
And with each new learning we got a better understanding of what we were capable of doing. We also, unfortunately, learned the habit of telling ourselves all about the things we couldn’t, shouldn’t or will never do. In the process, we learned to put limitations on our possibilities. To dig into the fear of failure and trying something new. We learned to resist the unknown, to beat ourselves up about our prowess in how quick or adept we are at learning something new and to hesitate to do things we’ve never done before or failed at in the past.
We learned to measure our progress through our perceived limitations, not our possibilities.
We are all capable of learning new things, doing something different, taking new directions. It takes time, patience, persistence and compassion to allow ourselves the grace of falling down so we can learn how to get back up again.
Here are 7 easy steps to learning anything new.
- Begin and take action.
Yup. It’s that simple. Just begin. Whatever you’re attempting, whether it’s to learn a new language or break a habit, begin. Like learning to walk, it doesn’t begin with the first step, it begins with the desire to take the step. And then, it takes action.
- Walk the 3 Ps. — Patience. Persistence. Passion.
Don’t give into the voice of doubt and negativity. Give yourself space to make mistakes and keep making them until you learn every mistake there is to make. In the learning, you will learn to trust yourself to do better every time. Don’t give up. Don’t look for the ‘right way’, look for the way that creates the more you want, the better, the other you’re seeking. And be passionate in your belief in you. Believe with all your heart you are capable of anything, and you will become your belief.
- Ask for directions.
It’s so easy to tell yourself that asking for directions, or help, is a sign of weakness, of not knowing what you’re doing. Well, when learning something new, you often don’t know what you’re doing. So why pretend you do? Give yourself the gift of learning from others, of seeking guidance. You’ll be expanding your own knowledge base, and, you won’t feel all alone in your efforts!
- Test your assumptions.
This can be a biggy for those who tell themselves “I can’t”, “I don’t”, “I never”. Testing the assumptions of your limiting beliefs opens you up to possibility. It can be as simple as removing the contraction — ‘t or testing the opposite. ‘I can’t’ becomes – I can. I don’t -I do and I never -I always. Test your assumptions and then, live for a moment in the possibility of life beyond the confines of its limitations. Don’t tell yourself it’s forever, just tell yourself, for the next half hour I will live without the limitation — and then do it.
- Breathe and relax.
It’s easy to forget to breathe when faced with something new or an unknown situation or the fear of failing. Your breath becomes shallow and your body contracts. Expand. Breathe deep and expand. Consciously invite expansion into your body as you breathe in. Let your breath relax your body as you ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen if I… do this or that. go here or there. Say this or that… Ask for what I want… And then expand out into the possibility that comes with setting your breath free. Dig into the passion of expanding not just your breath but your horizons too.
- Quit taking yourself so seriously.
Let go of your judge and jury. It’s so easy to convince yourself people are looking, judging, expecting signs of weakness and measuring you up for failure. Most of the time, they’re too busy looking, judging, measuring themselves to be concerned with little ole’ you and your escapades. And seriously? Aren’t you judging yourself more harshly than anyone else ever could? Let it go. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Imagine all you’ll learn just by trying. Imagine how much you’ll grow just by giving yourself the benefit of the doubt! And remember, sometimes you gotta get down and dirty with life to find the diamond beneath the surface.
- Be kind to yourself.
This is a biggy. All those words you use to bring yourself down, all those nasty names you call yourself… they’re not kind to you. Stop it. Stop calling yourself down. Stop dragging yourself through the muck of negativity. Rise up. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself how you would treat your bestest friend if they were trying to learn or do something new. Be encouraging of you. Be supportive. Be kind.
And above all, BELIEVE IN YOU. Believe in your capabilities. Your capacity to grow. Your commitment to being your best.
Believe in you and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worth believing in.