Learning Something New? Stick With It!

When you’re younger, learning new things is required. The newness, the awkwardness, all of it becomes a natural part of your experience because you have to grin and bear it like a champ. Now that you’re older, if it feels too awkward, you stop, right? I’m here to tell you that if it feels awkward, you’re on the right track and should keep on going! Here are the four stages of learning (or what I’ll call the ‘Curve of Learning’) that you’ll go through when you try something new.

INTRODUCTORY

  •  The newness of it all is usually a rush! This initial excitement usually outweighs the fact that you have no idea what you’re doing. Your body is flush with endorphins, perhaps you’ve mentioned to a friend or two what you’re doing, and you start visualizing this new activity as something you could see yourself continuing with for a while.

AWKWARD

  • This is when most people bail. You understand what’s happening a bit better, though you feel like you should be getting it by now. Rest assured, this is completely normal. In the words of one of our teachers, “Starting something new is like planting a seed in the dirt. For a while, all you’ll see is dirt.” Even though you’ve watered the seed and given it fertilizer, you still see dirt. But with time, persistence, and a bit of patience, you’ll start seeing results.

CONSCIOUS

  • You have to think about it, but the skill or concept is in your grasp. This is a crucial phase, as most people want to move onto something bigger and better. “I get it”, they usually say. However, if it’s a physical skill, it’ll take more time to absorb the material into your body. Much like doing the splits is an easy skill to do in theory (“spread my legs and go down, right?”), it takes significantly longer before we can do it properly in practice.

NATURAL

  • The phase we all strive to achieve no matter the skill. This is when our hard work pays off and we can do it without thinking. Our minds and bodies are on the same page, and when we think back, we wonder how we struggled with this concept in the beginning.

Seamlessly incorporating a skill into our life is what we want. And while it’s great when we reach the natural phase, it’s also important to remember the phases we went through to get there. Embracing the whole spectrum of the Curve of Learning will make it easier not only to add more complex layers to your known skills, it will also allow you to take on new challenges with excitement and gusto! So the next time you have the opportunity to take up a new skill, say “yay” and enjoy every phase of the Curve of Learning!

Written by: Ross, Communications Consultant for Arthur Murray Puget Sound
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