We all know how scary it can be to being a beginner at something. That kind of feeling of being out of control or unable. With the thoughts and doubts floating around our minds about whether we’ll be good at it or even if we’ll be able to do it at all!
Yes, being a beginner at something is a strange experience, especially as adults because our own thoughts become our worst enemy and try to convince us to stay in our comforts zones and just as we are. W feel that every mistake is a failure, not part of the learning process and can resort to beating ourselves up about not being good enough. And the worst part about it is that none of it is true. We make it all up in our thoughts.
I am sure that there are many times in your life that you have started to learn something only to give it up some time later because it’s ‘too hard for me’, ‘It’s not right for me’, ‘I can’t do it!’ only to sometimes wish that you were able to do that thing.
The thing is, yes, learning something new is a challenge and being a beginner is only part of that challenge. After a while those mistakes don’t happen any more and you are actually doing the things that you thought were out of your reach (seriously, you should have heard my early Ukulele ‘tunes’ …if you can call them that!) and my Hindi…well it is much better than my Gujarati, put it that way.
Let me share with you about my journey with Gujarati. I really wanted to learn it because Jit speaks it and so does his family, so I thought it would be good for me to be able to speak to them well. The thing is, I struggled so much th pronunciation that it really put me off even trying. What sounded perfect in my mind just never came out as it should. As such, I didn’t really learn very much Gujarati at all and went years without a single thought about it. That was until this year.
What I discovered was that I hadn’t really discovered why I wanted to learn Gujarati enough to be able to push through the icky hard stages of being a beginner. I was trying to do it because. Not for a real purpose so every hiccup was a hurdle I didn’t manage to recover from.
So when I decided this year that I would learn Hindi (mainly because it is a more widely used language), it was because I had made a choice. I found my lessons, chose when I would do it, recruited Jit to join me and knew that if we are going to go to India next year, I want to be able to speak the language (even at beginner level!)
What changed was my mindset and my reason for doing it. I changed form hobbyist to determined learner. Yes, I’m on my learning journey too, but I love it. It is fun and I can picture me one day speaking Hindi fluently, which is AMAZING!
And this is where you need to work on your mindset too if you want to get through the being a beginner stage and here’s how to do it:
Know WHY you are wanting to learn the new thing.
Not just a small why, a big WHY. For me, with my new goal of learning Hindi, I have the big WHY of the prospect of going to India to meet Jit’s parents and I would love to be able to speak to his Mum and learn some of her family recipes.
Know that mistakes are part of the learning process.
Don’t think of the mistakes that you make as failures. They are part of all part of the learning process. Use them as lessons and review your progress regularly. I like to keep a little book which I can write down the things that I learn in a session, what I need to practice during the week and my reflections on it at the end. It helps me to see both how far I have come and what I find challenging and need to work on more. Mistakes become important in this kind of learning.
Have someone to share it with.
Whether you learn together or share what you have learned, it compounds what you are doing and also gives you abit of moral support. Over the weekends, I play the Ukulele to Jit while he learns his own stuff and it is lovely that he appreciates it and I have someone to feed back on my progress. We’re also learning Hindi together so that is a great way for us to get our learning in by chatting with each other.
Enjoy the journey.
…and be able to laugh at yourself too. Just with everything, approaching it with good humour will help you to get through the difficult bits of being a beginner. Seriously, I record myself playing the Uke so that I can see how I am doing and where I have made mistakes in my rhythm or chords, it is absolutely hilarious to listen back to them! (I might post one to my Facebook group!) Learning is an organic process and some days will be better than others, just remember that every time you work on it, you ARE getting better each time.
Remember that YOU CAN DO THIS!
“The expert in anything was once a beginner” ~ unknown
When you think about all the things that you can do, the things that you have learned through your life, you can really do this one too! Being a beginner is going to be part of your whole life (if you choose to keep growing and improving yourself) so will be something that you need to enjoy. Remember that you are so incredibly talented and brilliant in that you CAN learn new things. You just need to keep telling yourself that you will get there and the journey is all part of the fun. Don’t give up at the first hurdle!
So how does that feel for you? When you’re being a beginner this year, what are you leaning?
I’d love to know what you’re experiences of being a beginner are and how you keep yourself on track – share below!
You really can do this!
PS: If you want some more support with being a beginner and with other things in life, come and join me for some challenges, support and fun over in the private Facebook group – sign up here to find out more