On Learning (and Looking Stupid)
One of the things I love about trying new training programs (e.g., #LWFdaily) is that I get exposed to things I've always thought looked cool and beneficial but never tried.
Kettlebell windmills are one such exercise.
Video helps me see where my form is off, but, as this was the first time I've ever done them, I didn't exactly *need* this video to know that they are moderately smelly trash. BUT, what I wouldn't have known was what they actually look like, and where, precisely, I need work ("do it better," the obvious advice I give myself, is not particularly actionable).
We are all not-so-great judges of what exactly feels right or wrong with new movements. I'd urge you to get friendly with selfie mode when trying new things and see what you learn.
"But aren't you afraid of looking stupid on the internet, especially in the field in which you're a professional?"
Nah. Left that behind when I realized life is a process of unwrapping new beginnings. We'll never learn if we don't go out on a limb and try new things. We all look kinda stupid sometimes. Ask for help anyway.
In psychology, as first noted Four Stages for Learning any new Skill (Noel Burch), there are levels of competence when we’re in the process of mastery, and bear with me here, because it gets a little confusing if we’re going fast.
1. Unconscious incompetence: in which we don’t understand how to do something, and also don’t recognize how far we have to go to get there (or the usefulness of said skill).
2. Conscious incompetence: in which we recognize that the skill has value and will improve our lives, and also realize that we don’t know how to do it (we make a *lot* of mistakes in this stage- which is okay, because we’re learning! Pep talk here.).
3. Conscious competence: in which we know how to do something, but it requires lots of concentration to do it (we’re thinking of every little step: squeeze our glutes, spread the floor, push our knees out, breathe, brace, push our back into the bar out of the hole, etc. etc. all throughout the squat).
4. Unconscious competence: in which we have so much practice that we perform the skill as if it were second nature (and can teach it to others).
All of that to say, it’s easy – and natural – to get frustrated, give up, want to turn our brains off, etc. But we can’t skip steps: if we want to learn how to #LevelUp (which, if you’re here, you do), there are going to be periods where it’s sticky, where it’s bogged down by thinking of every little thing, where it’s exhausting.
With enough practice, and enough awareness, and enough making it NBD to mess up or think hard through the process, we’ll get to the effortless stage. It’s guaranteed. Cultivating awareness actually allows for the stage where we can complete a heavy lift as though it’s an empty bar. So, stay focused, my friends: the ease is coming.
What are you learning today? 👊❤