A belief to motivate trying new things

April 2, 2013 by Joshua
in Awareness, Exercises, Models, Tips

[This post is part of a series on “Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours.” If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Are you nervous to try new things? Do you wish you tried more things? Do you see others enjoying things you’re too scared to try?

I found a way to motivate trying new things.

My model to try new things: I have low standards the first time. That is, the first time I do something, I consider it successful if I just do it at all, not by how well I do it.

I wrote about this model almost two years ago, so please check out that post, “I have low standards the first time.”

Today I’ll note that I think most people shy away from trying new things mainly from fear of others (or themselves) judging them. They don’t want to be embarrassed. They want to try singing karaoke but are afraid of judgment. Same thing with trying a new sport, a new style of clothing, salsa classes, asking an attractive person out, meditating, or whatever.

Sometimes they’re afraid of injury and avoid trying to ski or skydive, no matter how much they want to do it.

This model replaces fears of judgment or putting yourself at risk with low standards. When you confidently decide that merely trying something at all is enough, you’ll find yourself more eager to do things you’ve never done before.

So tell people you’ll sing karaoke and invite them to laugh at your voice because you consider the mere act of singing a huge success. Ask out that person because just asking means success for you (not asking means no anyway). Go skiing for the first time and don’t worry about getting off the bunny slope.

You get the idea.

When I use the belief

I use the belief when I want to do something new, but am afraid of judgment or failure.

Lately I’ve used it buying and wearing new clothes, approaching people I didn’t know, and working on a new entrepreneurial project.

What it replaces

My believing in having low standards the first time replaces evaluating my performance against people with experience my first time. I have a goal of having it overcome fear, shame, anxiety, and related emotions when I consider trying new things.

Where it leads

This belief leads to new activities and behavior with less fear.

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