The expert at anything was once a beginner

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
~Meister Eckhart

 

The hardest part of life is to begin. But once we start it becomes easy, so how do we overcome that initial block? How do we become experts?

Starting something new can be very scary, we don’t know if we will be capable of doing it, if we have what it takes, we don’t know if we have all the resources necessary or even what to expect. It means we will not be very good at first and it will take some time to learn. It can make us feel not good enough and no-one likes to feel that way. This is a reflection of my emotions in writing this first blog post.

It takes courage to start something new. It means overcoming fear of the unknown and conquering our ego. To build courage we have to step out of our comfort zone, learn to welcome the discomfort and enjoy this feeling. Every new endeavour will bring that feeling again, so the best thing to do it to embrace it and welcome it wholeheartedly.

For me, signing up to a daily deal website really helped open my eyes to new possibilities and learn to live with this uncomfortable emotion. I wanted to try belly dancing, flamenco, capoeira, white water rafting, horseback riding, eating alone in new restaurants, and many other things… but I was too scared. Often it meant showing up alone to a room full of people who knew what they were doing and trying to cover up my inner fear. And I don’t think that feeling ever goes away. I’ve been rock climbing, playing with acro yoga, riding motorbikes and hiking for many years but I still feel uncomfortable and insecure anytime I work with experts in that field. It just means letting go of the need to be perfect and embracing the inner beginner.

To become an expert it takes focus and practice. It can be applied to anything in life. In yoga, it means making our practice a priority and keeping it consistent. Planning our week in advance and choosing a weekly schedule can help with that. Then comes the willpower and discipline to keep doing what we already committed to. It’s important to have integrity of our word and keep our promises to ourselves. That’s how we learn to trust ourselves and this also helps to build intuition, but that’s a topic for a future blog. There is a common myth that states it takes 21 days of repetition to form a new habit. That’s probably why 30 day yoga challenges are so popular. If after 3 weeks you haven’t noticed a dramatic change, here’s why. 21 days is actually the minimum amount of time for our minds to adapt to change. It takes another 2 months to make that new behaviour automatic and anywhere from 2-8 months to make that behaviour a habit. And also, it doesn’t matter if you mess up now and then, as long as you stick to your goal you will make it a habit. How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit?

So lets set realistic expectations and give ourselves enough time to achieve what we set out to. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, the Outliers, explains how all successful people had something in common. They each put in about 10000 hours of practice to gain mastery in their field. I wonder which areas of my life I have put that amount of time into.

I believe that the key here is to move past the comfort zone, go with the flow and embrace change. Everything in life changes anyway and that moment of discomfort can lead to new opportunities and possibilities, so go ahead and take the leap of faith.

 

“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”

~Barbara Sher

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