Smooth Operator


Try this experiment in developing a new skill:

Start on the floor in a plank or upper push-up position. Lower your right forearm to the floor, then your left. End in a forearm plank position. Press your right hand down, then your left. End where you started in your upper push-up plank. Repeat 3-4x

***Option to collapse on the floor and/or employ profanities. Yogi's choice.***

When you’ve regained your breath and your rage has cooled to a simmer, come back to plank and try the other side. Acquiring new skills can be kind of the worst. You’re awkward, you’re uncomfortable. Ungainly, uncoordinated, even unseemly.

Acquiring new skills is also, well, kind of the best. You’re challenging yourself, you’re breaking ground, you’re playing fast and loose with your comfort zone. Becoming someone new- or is it becoming more authentically you?

How often do we cut ourselves short of the opportunity to acquire a new skill because it’s so difficult in the beginning? “I’m bad at that,” we say, when what we mean is merely “I’m unskilled.” The second statement that doesn’t add any judgments or set any boundaries on our abilities. “I could never x,” we say, when what we mean is ‘I have never x.”

Not yet anyway.

Playing piano. Solving Sudoku. Simple hand-eye coordination (though it’s likely I am actually just bad at that). Where do we sell ourselves short, convincing ourselves that a lack of experience is equal to a lack of ability? What opportunities do we miss out on because we are unwilling to show our vulnerability to others?

Having the courage to try something new gives others permission to do the same, not to mention it’s really, really good for your brain. So go ahead. Act like an idiot. Play the fool. Dream your ridiculous dreams. Nobody’s got the music of Mozart or the moves of Michael Jackson the first go-round. Not only will you have empowered the people around you to hone their own new skills, you’ll find you have a whole lot more fun.

Looking for inspiration? Here’s 5 new skills you could practice:

1. That terrible exercise I described above. 2. The worm. 3. Crocheting an infinity scarf. 4. Making beer. 5. Origami.

xxoo, Kristen

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