Is there something you wish you had learned when you were a kid? A skill? A trick? A habit? Do you regret that you didn’t learn something because you don’t have the skill now, as an adult? (link to habits) And maybe you think, “Oh, life would be so different now if I had learned all those things, it would be so much greater. But OBVIOUSLY, it is too late to do anything about it now.”
NOPE! You are 100% wrong. This is one of those false assumptions that you “know to be true” that is dead wrong. In fact, you absolutely can learn new skills as an adult.
Yes, you heard me right! I will reframe it now in a more direct way to make sure that you understood me correctly: You can actually LEARN FASTER as an adult than a child.
There is a simple reason why: As an adult, you are able to consciously understand directions and make a deliberate effort to follow them. As a result, you will learn faster than a child because conscious control of mind and body is unfamiliar to a child. Children learn mainly by mere repetition.
How do I know this? Well, two of my favorite activities that are now part of my routine are ballet and skiing. These are activities that most adults believe you must start learning in childhood, but the first time I tried them I was already an adult. My daughter and I started individual, private skiing lessons at the same time. During the first lesson, I saw my daughter skiing down the children’s bunny hill, while I was still concentrating on conceptualizing control techniques and conquering my fear of losing control on the slopes. During the second private session, I went down that bunny hill 15 times while my daughter still needed to repeat the same routine as the first session. As I said before, adults tend to learn by conscious effort, while children learn by repetition, and that is exactly what we did: she went down the same hill over and over, refining her skills a little each time, while I was able to advance more quickly as I consciously applied the techniques I had been concentrating on.
During our third ski adventure, I started taking the lifts and skiing down by myself on the easiest adult runs, the greens. I had one more private lesson after that, which equipped me with all the techniques I needed to be able to start taking on the medium level runs, the blues. My daughter stayed on the bunny hill. In fact, only after her 10th session was she able to ski independently down green runs. By then I was already able to start dipping my toes into some more advanced runs. My next goal is to take a lesson that will give me the necessary tools to tackle the most advanced runs, the blacks. I’m really excited for that!
I am sure my daughter is going to catch up to my level of expertise, and as long as she continues to work on her skiing, she might even surpass me. You see, kids are fearless and do not conceptualize danger the way adults do. When I ski, I concentrate on control, and that harnesses my fear; when she skis, she just dives into it, no fear at all!
I also, as an adult, started ballet for the first time. Much like skiing, I worked hard at it, I concentrated and practiced, and now part of my daily routine includes dancing at the advanced level.
Learn new skills. Implement new habits. Allow yourself to take the first step, and don’t use the fact that you didn’t learn it as a child as an excuse to say that it’s too late to learn it now. It’s not! Dive in! There’s no telling what adventures await you when you learn something new!
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