Overwhelmed when learning a new skill? You’re doing it wrong.
Whether it be learning how to code, play a new sport, or manage stress, there’s no skill that you can’t acquire.
But the most important part of learning is to learn how to learn.
I’m no Tim Ferriss (yet), but I want to share with you some tips and tricks that allowed me to learn so quickly.
Here are some mindsets I want you to have when taking on a new task.
1. Find the balance between challenge and skill
Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Psychologist
Here’s a graph to better illustrate what this brilliant psychologist is talking about.
When the challenge is too high for your current skill level, you have feelings of anxiety.
And when your skill level far surpasses the challenge at hand, you get really bored.
Finding the right balance between anxiety and boredom is where you find the “flow state”
flow (n.) — the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
2. Start Now
It’s OKAY to be terrible in the beginning
The best way to get good at coding? You code.
The best way to get good at writing captivating stories? You write.
The best way to get good at cook awesome meals? You cook.
Stop waiting until you’re “good enough” to start doing it.
Because you’re actually never going to be “good enough” until you start.
Your 10th apple pie will taste better than your 1st.
Your 100th apple pie will taste much better than your 10th.
Personally it took me a long time for me to even write this post because I thought I wasn’t a “good enough” writer.
I was waiting for a magical moment when “writing powers” would be given to me. Then I realized that day is never going to come unless I put my content out there, get criticism and feedback, and apply it to my next piece.
3. Pull back if you get overwhelmed
It’s OKAY if you’re not ready to take on the challenge right now.
Allowing myself to accept who I am today has saved me countless anxiety attacks.
The best advice I got for learning how to code:
When you’re doing assignments, if you don’t understand a concept after some time, don’t stress about it and just move on. And when you’re done with the assignment, go back and do it again. With each iteration you’ll understand the concepts more and more. It’s much better than stressing yourself out.
When the challenge became too difficult, it was necessary for me to acquire more skill through repetition before I was able to overcome the challenge.
Finding this balance can be very tricky at times as we often want to move so quickly. But it’s important to relax every once in a while to recharge.
But above all, action is always better than inaction.
A step in the wrong direction is better than staying “on the spot” all your life.
— Maxwell Maltz(Psychocybernetics)