Monday, January 9, 2012

New Things are Hard

It is interesting that no matter how much we try to focus on doing new things we always revert back to what is safe and comfortable.  We profess that we would like to shake things up a little by stepping out our groove and trying something new.

But that old familiar demon of fear stands before you with hands on hips, and challenges you on why would you want to do something new.  Why shake the status quo?  Why move out of this comfy little spot that you have worked so hard to create? Why try something that you don't really know how to do?

And you know that little demon is loud and intimidating and so you go back to that small place that you have stayed in for a very long time.  You go to work, watch television, sleep and eat and maybe, just maybe get to the gym here and there.  And you long to rattle that cage that you have created.

So, we need to challenge fear.  Most successful people say that they feel the fear and go forward anyway.

Fear of not succeeding, fear of looking foolish, fear of regretting a decision that you cannot go back on.  Life is full of these choices and we all make some wrong and some right.

But staying in one place and not making a decision to change, is still making a decision.  A decision to stay where you are.  A decision to not grow.  A decision not to try new things.

That makes not deciding almost as scary as deciding doesn't it.

Most people on their death beds regret the things they did not do, not the things they did.  Hmmm.....

Monday, January 2, 2012

10 Reasons to Try Something New Every Day

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new". Albert Einstein.

Two years ago I shook things up by trying to do something new every day. It was challenging to find something new every day but two years in, I have accomplished about 650 new things. (That is 70 short to compensate for the less than motivated days that creep in here and there. On those days old habits feel like just the right thing.)

These 650 new things ran the spectrum of trying a new wine to reading a new genre of book to trying a new menu item in an old restaurant. I took a Photography course to learn about all those cool buttons on my camera, I started a second blog, ran a new race that I had never gone into before and went cycling in Wine Country with friends. I ran on a new path while running, and tried new spices in new recipes. I spoke to people I might not have spoken to. 

So you see some of the new things were simple and instantaneous; others took time and commitment. But all of them took me out of my comfort zone even if it was just a tiny step out!  Admittedly though, I also did about 600 things wrong. Because when you try something new you make a lot of mistakes. 

And although that was not the reason for my quest, it turned out to be an amazing lesson for that safe little person who never likes to fail.We all start out trying new things when we are young. We try them with the excitement and abandonment of trying something new that is inherent in that age of discovery. 

As we get older we learn not to embarrass ourselves by doing something wrong and so we back away from things that are new and different. We learn to value what others think over learning new skills. And so we stop learning and recede to our safe little status quo. We do not try new things so we do not make any mistakes. Life is safe and maybe the days start to look the same.  And you wonder what happened to that exciting try almost anything person that you used to be.

So here are 10 really good reasons to Try Something New every day.

1.  It is exhilarating to try something new and different and see it through.  To accomplish what seemed to be hard.  There is no other feeling like looking back and realizing that you have this new skill in your portfolio. 

2.  Having multiple skills in your portfolio makes you interested and interesting. (which are two different things.)  You get jobs that you would not have gotten, you speak with people that you might not have had anything in common with and you go places that you did not even know were out there.

3.  One new experience leads to another and the sequence takes on a momentum of it's own, taking you on one adventure after another.  After the initial month or so new things start leading to other new things and the natural inertia that originally made this difficult, falls away.

4.  It takes the sameness out of each and every day.  You might say that you like the comfort of sameness but really that is inertia and that old comfort zone that you prefer. Resistance.  Staying in your comfort zone.  Most people when they blast through that initial inertia become addicted to the variety and stimulation of the path to trying new things.

5.  Trying new things gives you new found energy and it compounds itself as it takes hold.  Energy breeds more energy.  When you get stuck in a rut you lose touch with your personal energy. It emerges again when you try new things. And it comes roaring back when you begin the quest.

6.  Trying new things does not cost anything but gives big returns. We spend a lot of money trying to soothe the restless self inside of us.  Trying new things does not cost money but stirs your soul in ways you could never have imagined.

7.  Trying new things feels awkward and uncomfortable and exciting and pleasant all at the same time.  You plan to do it.  Then when the time comes to do it, you wonder why you set yourself up for all this worry and discomfort.  You feel the need to retreat and cancel.  But you must go forward towards that thing you fear because the other side feels so great!

8.  Trying new things makes you grow as a person.  You just cannot do 650 new things and still remain the same.  Your life is propelled forward in new directions and to new places. Big changes for small initiatives.

9.  You can change your life in repeated small ways. Huge changes, especially at first, are too fearsome to fathom so they never get done.  But small ones do.  And small ones accumulate to big changes.  And your confidence in your ability to handle change grows as you accomplish each small change. So you become confidant that you can handle increasingly bigger changes.  So you try them and succeed and your confidence grows.  

10.  Small changes let you make small mistakes and you learn that making mistakes is okay and that your world did not come undone because something did not work the first time.  Your natural instinct when something does not work is to put it away and not try it any more.  When you get on a path of trying new things, you expect to make mistakes and so you just keep failing your way to success. 

It turns out it is fun!  Making mistakes. Laughing at your attempts. Trying new things. Growing and changing. Learning.  Living. Gaining confidence.  What's not love about this process!  

Try one new thing each day.  Make them small at first so you can feel the vision of what bigger things will bring. Record them each day to keep you accountable and not to let too many 'same' days slip by.  

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