A model for learning potentially painful, embarrassing, challenging skills

June 19, 2013 by Joshua
in Exercises, Models, Perception, 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.]

Do you ever hold back from trying to learn something because you know you’ll have to try several times to get it right? Are you afraid of falling, failing, getting hurt, and getting laughed at?

Today’s model addresses that, giving you a model for trying new things. It gives a great visualization for people who master a difficult task, as difficult, painful, publicly viewable, and challenging as any project you’ll take on.

You’ve likely done this harder challenge yourself.

A model for learning potentially painful, embarrassing, challenging skills: Babies learning to walk

Think of a baby learning to walk. Each of them will fall many times. They look short to us, but I bet their falls hurt. Plus they do it publicly, so they’ll get laughed at. The challenge to balance takes more concentration and coordination than they have when they start.

Yet every baby that can walk learns to. Almost certainly you did.

Babies learning to walk don’t give up. They don’t say “I just can’t do it.” When they get hurt they get back up again. When they get laughed at they keep going.

They get so good at walking, they give up the old ways. When was the last time you crawled?

You’re smarter, stronger, more experienced, and more capable in almost every way than a baby. If they can learn to walk, you can probably do what you’re learning.


When you’re trying to learn a potentially painful, embarrassing, challenging skill

Be like a baby learning to walk.

Be like you were!

When I use this belief

I use this belief when trying to learn a potentially painful, embarrassing, challenging skill.

What this belief replaces

This belief replaces worrying about failing, getting hurt, being laughed at, and giving up with sticking with it until you make it.

Where this belief leads

This belief leads to taking on new challenges with resolve.

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