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Line up with the 6 year olds


Somewhere between the age of 5 and 6 we decide what we can and can’t do. What we are talented in and what we suck at.

I decided I was good at math and didn’t like writing.  I decided that I wasn’t good at sports and didn’t like to play the piano.  I decided I wasn’t good at art or foreign language.

It might be a bit later than the 6 years for some people, but it is while we are still young children that we start forming these opinions.

This isn’t wrong.  Kids should have an idea of what they like and don’t like, but why do these ideas follow us into adulthood?  … it is possible that we could change between the age of 6 and 30.

I have been reading Tim Ferriss’ new book The 4-Hour Chef.  While it has been inspiring me to make some fun things in the kitchen it is Tim’s ideas about learning new things that is really sticking out.

Tim appears to not be afraid to tackle something new.  To take on a new challenge like cooking, language, sports, or anything as a beginner and not be afraid of the learning process.

It sounds amazing and terrifying at the same time.  If I decide to take piano lessons now won’t I be doing recitals with 6 year olds?  If I decide to learn a new sport won’t I look dumb next to others who have played for years? Aren’t I way to old to learn another language… and how embarrassing to be talking like a 2 year old in another language.

Tim talks about learning languages, sports, dance, and now cooking and, it appears, that he isn’t worried about looking dumb… at least he doesn’t let the fear stop him from learning something new.

I was talking last night to a friend who is getting ready to move to Germany.  She was saying that she would love to speak German.  I told her that to really learn she would need to get over the fear of practicing… she agreed but said she could never do that… she was way to shy.  I don’t blame her at all.  It sounds terrifying, but being a beginner and admitting it in public by practicing seems to be what separates the wishful from the successful.  

Get past the ego and fear, line up with the 6 year olds, and try something new.  Try something you have wanted to learn for a while. Maybe it is something you never thought you were good at, but perhaps never really gave a fair try.

“I’ve never been good at…’ is not an excuse. (tweet that)

You don’t know what you will think of it or how good you are at it unless you give it another good (100% effort) try.  If it fails, so what?  What have you lost but a bit of time?  You already thought you weren’t good at it and you proved it.

But what do you have to gain?  What if you love it?

It isn’t anything new or a secret, but I wanted to talk about it because it is such a real fear that slows us all down more than it should.  Reading it and seeing  Tim talk about learning so many things was a great reminder and inspiring.

For me?  Fast forward from my early ideas to my 30’s and I love writing (though still not very good at speling and grammar), I’m learning piano, and I want to learn a foreign language or painting.  I have taken almost an about face from my childhood opinions 🙂

Is there something you have wanted to learn how to do but you have been afraid of being a beginner?



  1. Elizabeth Kane Elizabeth Kane

    When I was a kid, I always thought there was a huge line between child and adult. When you’re a kid you can learn things, when you’re an adult there’s no more learning – because you’re a MASTER of everything you wanted to do in your life with all the answers to the questions you’ve always wondered.

    Imagine my surprise.

    • such a let down 😉

  2. I hated math since 3rd grade, to this day I vividly remember when my mom attempted to teach me division. It was a disaster that still bring tears to my face. Such big fights were the beginning of a long phobia to math and a big struggle at school all the way to high school. I always did very well in every other subject but math.
    In college I had to take remedial math, no surprise there! But this time I was an adult, I decided to truly learn the subject, I talked to my teacher and she was very understanding. With hard work and her support, today I can say I learn math. I even enjoyed it.

    Don’t be afraid to be in the line with the 6 year olds. Celebrate that you have the courage to do it!

    • wow, that is really brave to go back and face it. You rock! Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

    • thanks 🙂

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