August 29th, 2003

red panda eating bamboo

Trying something new

Here's something I posted as a comment in another journal. (The entry was friends-locked.) The person was saying they felt bad about not doing better at something they were starting to learn.
This reminds me of my first few weeks doing the dog-training class at the animal shelter. I wasn't getting the results I wanted, and because most things are easy for me, I jumped to the conclusion that I was "bad at" dog training. But I kept going, reminding myself that I'd started doing the class because I wanted and needed a challenge.

I gradually got better at it, but most of what "better" meant was understanding what each dog was capable of, and neither pushing the dog to the point where it got upset and stressed, nor blaming myself for not being able to change the dog more. Sometimes, not pushing the dog made me get better-than-expected results, but mostly, I just started enjoying the class more and not bothering with blaming or negative judgement.

So my advice is to keep at it, and try to remind yourself of the difference between "bad at" and "a beginner learning a challenging new skill."

I'm posting this because turning off the "you're bad at this" critic when I am trying something new that I'm not "a natural" at is very hard for me. I need to remind myself a lot.