Do you ever just get randomly inspired to try something new or perhaps learn a new skill? It’s a thought that is so quiet, and if you don’t act on it, it’ll just be gone with the wind. However, I am a believer that there is no such thing as “too late.” Whoever wrote, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may not just be being patient with the dog. But seriously speaking, I hope that after reading this, you’ll get inspired to try something that you’ve been putting on hold.
Why Should You Try to Learn a New Skill?
If we are scientifically speaking, your brain improves more every time you try a new skill. This is because the white matter in your brain increases in density, and you get to stimulate your neurons. In turn, you will learn and perform other tasks much better.
At the same time, when you get out of your norm, you’re also learning more about yourself. When I randomly have the idea to learn something new every day, I was almost apprehensive about myself. Will I have the time and patience to do it each day? I have so many doubts.
But after a week, I’m starting to appreciate myself more. I found out activities that I am good at and things that I actually like doing. And because of this, I built a better faith in myself. So when things are getting hard, I can remind myself that I conquered something much more difficult before.
One day, I read about a vacuum sealer for sous vide here on a whim after I convinced myself that I could copy a sous vide recipe I saw on a cooking show. I’m not really a well-endowed cook, and I’m used to ordering take-outs. However, I was very pleased with my results. While my first trial isn’t immediately perfect, it is still enough to motivate me that I can make impressive dishes I can hardly pronounce.
It will also be easier for you to find something in common with other people because of the diverse projects that you’ve tried. You don’t have to dread small talk with other people once you found common ground. When my wife introduced me to her friend’s husband, I noticed his fishing pictures around his home. And what’s funny was I actually tried fishing weeks before!
You can even use your newly found skills as sources of extra income. Maybe it will also help pave the role in helping you find a more rewarding career. Not only do you feel like you have a sense of purpose, but acquiring a new skill also makes you more motivated to try harder in other aspects of life.
How Can You Learn a New Skill?
I know that learning something regardless of its complexity is easier to be said than done. Therefore, be realistic with your timeline and don’t pressure yourself with expectations. I said that I tried learning a new skill every day, but that doesn’t mean that I immediately learn how to do them in just a span of 24 hours.
Some skills like drawing human faces, playing the cello, and learning basics of French certainly took me weeks and weeks. I even throw in some chemistry lessons in the mix just to keep me from getting bored of a certain topic. If you are getting frustrated with a task, take a break for a while and come back to it when you are in the mood again.
Your brain may not be in the mood to learn something too complex. You can still exercise your brain and body by learning much simpler lessons and skills. These can range from challenging your memory, reading comprehension, to lifting weights. You will notice which tasks and skills are easier for you regardless of the setting.
Another thing that will help you learn a new skill is motivation. If you don’t have the drive to bother learning something, it will be easier for you just to give it up. For example, if you are an aspiring sculptor, you can go to exhibits or read books about the sculptors that inspire you. You might even stumble upon something else that’ll leave you saying, “I want to try that!”
Now, the next step is how you’ll turn the want into “can.” You can only know if you are capable of something if you tried it. And if you failed, at least you tried rather than not knowing that you can. Don’t be too lost into preparations that you might end up convincing yourself to bail out of learning. Nothing beats actual hands-on trial and then keep on practicing.
What I Got From Learning a New Skill Every Day
The lesson that I got from learning different skills is that it made me realize that you shouldn’t doubt yourself because you have no talent. In a way, innate talent will play a role in making a skill much easier for you. However, just because you aren’t a fencing prodigy at the age of 5 doesn’t mean you should throw your interest at the age of 25.
The truth is that there are studies that showed how the persistence of actions could even be at par or beat innate talent. Yes, so even though you don’t have the genes for something, consistently trying to master it will eventually make you just as good. If you think about it, even if you are born with the skill, if you never tried and bothered improving it, you will eventually get beaten by someone more determined to learn it.
Overall, even though I failed in some areas (cough cough archery), I still feel like I’ve won. I got to satisfy my curiosity, and answered my doubts if I’ll find meaning in trying something new. And in the end, I feel like I became a more well-rounded person because of the things I’ve tried and learned. Some of those things may not be realistic to have use in everyday life, and they are not even related to my job. Nonetheless, they helped me breathe and prevent the feeling that I am living life in autopilot.