Despite how I have historically equated the process of learning new things with making a fool of myself, I realize that I am now at a point in my life where the time I spend acquiring a new skill is when I feel the most alive. Strangely enough, I’ve always been really patient with myself when the learning is mental. Physical activities are a different story.
I don’t know when I made the mental leap to adopt a love of learning for learning’s sake, but I’m so glad I have. I’ve had a complete change in the mental dialogue that goes on in my head. Now in the early phases of learning, when things go horribly wrong (as they do), my internal response is, “Hmmmmmm…. that was unexpected.”
A couple months ago I took my first archery class. I saw it on Meetup.com and thought it would be fun. Having seen Hunger Games (and never having picked up a bow before in my life), I went into the class wanting to focus on grouping shots.
During my first time up at the target, all three arrows missed the target completely.
I reassessed and made new goal: Hit the target.
Guess what I did the next time up. I hit the target!!!!! I would not have been nearly as excited about making contact with a black ring if I’d done it my first go round.
When it was time for my next go round, I decided to try to control where it went. Not so much. It is harder than it looks! Okay, back to hitting the target … anywhere.
Seeing this picture of me taken during my first class reminded me of watching videos of myself dancing. In looking at it, I immediately see everything I was doing wrong. Wonderfully, my mind did not diminish the picture in my eyes, instead it spun it to show how much I’d learned so that I could see what I was doing wrong.
I’m currently taking an archery course, which ends this week. I have gotten much better, meaning I don’t consider myself to be a danger to myself or others. Shortly I will be buying a bow so I can go practice whenever I want on my own. Right now, what is really needed for me to improve is the work of firing arrow after arrow. Since leaving dance, I’ve really missed have a physical activity that requires precision. Now I have it!
Once I started getting into archery, I was surprised at the number of people who were exposed to it in elementary school or junior high. How did I miss out on that?!?!?! Then again, giving kids potentially deadly weapons seems a bit scary to me. Can you tell I’m a non-mom?
Have you ever tried archery? Did you have it in school? Or What new activity have you tried lately?