Childhood is full of learning new things. Babies learn to crawl, then walk, then run. Toddlers become potty-trained, feed themselves, and discover how to put on pants. Before long in elementary school, kids learn adding, subtracting, and how to get along with other kids on the playground.
Every experience of growing up is punctuated by awe. It’s thrilling to learn how to tie your shoes, because “they” tie their shoes (who they? the big people). Each skill acquired is a step toward independence, even though kids don’t think of it that way. Their natural bent is simply curiosity and the willingness to discover (spend thirty minutes with a five-year-old and count how many times they ask, Why ?).
But somewhere along the way, it’s easy to lose the hunger to learn. We become confident in our abilities. Admitting we don’t know something is a chink in our armor rather than an opportunity. But what if, instead of a threat, every new thing you didn’t know became an opportunity?
There are two distinct mindsets involved in learning. Either, you come to a new experience, and think:
I probably can’t do that. Oh well.
Or, you venture into something new, thinking:
I wonder if I can do that. I should try.
It takes humility, confidence, and the willingness to accept that you may fail the first time—or the first five times. But if you never try anything, then you never learn anything. And that’s way worse.