As the school buses blaze along the roads again, they serve as a good reminder to stay curious, to try new things and grow our brains. We are hearing more about ‘brain plasticity’ or the brain’s ability to change and grow, but to do that, we need to shake up our routines and put down all that we ‘think’ we know for a while. It can be as simple as taking a new route to work in the morning and as complex as taking a class to learn to speak a different language. Outside of not having to ride a school bus, the beauty about being “grown up” is you can choose what, when and how you learn. You can follow your passions and enjoy learning for the sake of learning. The more you explore, the more you will discover about yourself and have to share with others.
For example, I recently tried adventure mountain biking in Quebec with my husband. My cycling skills are basic, but I know how to adjust my gears to make pedaling easier when faced with a steep incline, so how could mountain biking in the wilderness trails of Valleé-bras-du-nord be that different?
As you can see from my face in the picture to the left, it was VERY different. I learned bravery, effort and a decent fitness level will only get you so far when you don’t have the skills. To be honest with you, I hated every moment of it. Not because I was out of my comfort level, but because I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing and I could have literally broken my neck.
After further investigation, my husband and I found an easier trail, where I was able to master shifting my gears on less wilder terrain. As a result, I found myself enjoying it more and more. In fact, I’m determined to learn how to zip through those intermediate trails.
I tell you this story because learning something new isn’t going to be easy. It will uncover all of the things you don’t know and all of the things you wish you didn’t– like the numerous bike mishaps I had as a kid. The biggest mistake you can make is saying, “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good/smart/strong/flexible enough to do this”. Don’t forget you are learning, which means you don’t know a,b,c, but you’re about to find out. And maybe that thing you’re learning isn’t for you, but before you quit, make sure it wasn’t just a matter of rising to the challenge of learning it, in which case, have another go at it and watch as it becomes less about learning something new and more about building character skills, such as perseverance.