In my spiritual studies, I have often heard that it is important to have a beginner's mind. It is important to be able to empty my cup of preconceptions and the belief that I already have things figured out, to replace judgement with curiosity.
"Learn new things." They say in studies of both happiness and brain health.
I believe the world is rich and fascinating things to explore and discover. I believe that curiosity and discovery are an important part of a happy and badass life.
But, holy cow! Have you tried doing something you haven't a clue how to do recently? We live in a world where children are asked what they want to do when they grow up long before they have the capacity to imagine what adult life entails. And we and they expect that they will have an answer. Our educational system rewards or punishes children for what they can show mastery over, not for their curiosity or their understanding of what helps them learn.
I grew up in a family where mistakes were not allowed. Learning was not allowed. Only proficiency was allowed.
I am learning how to play banjo, claw hammer style. This doesn't feel easy to me. I might spend an entire hour just hammering one string at a time and still not be able to hit each string accurately. I might spend a couple of hours playing one measure (non musicians, that's 4 beats. Yep, 4 whole beats, and never get it right.
The thing about banjo is that anyone nearby can hear. Unlike knitting where the frustration of making mistakes or needing to repeat that one stitch thousands of times before you get it right can be a relatively private thing. But with the banjo, anyone within earshot can clearly hear that I suck, oh right, I'm working hard at learning.
As I practice with my teacher or when my sweetie is home, I am transported to the humiliation of my 3rd grade self trying to learn multiplication tables.
Most of us avoid these feelings. It is easier to just do what you know or only learn new things that are similar enough to things what we already do well that we can avoid feeling so terribly incompetent.
But they know how they say, "To have something you have never had you can't do what you have always done" I believe this is true. I believe that in order to have a badass life and to achieve the things you have always dreamed of, you have to want it badly enough to throw yourself into new territory. Do the hard things. Give yourself permission to really suck as something and do it anyway. Do the thing badly and shamelessly until, eventually, you no longer suck. What an awesome feeling that is. To realize that you no longer suck at that thing that once seemed like an impossible ball of humiliation!
So I encourage you. I encourage you to go for your dreams and do the things that you have always wanted to do. Even if you have no clue how. Read, explore, ask questions, hire a teacher or consultant, trial and error, whatever it takes. Do the thing, you just may find your life becoming more and more badass.
Here is a little inspiration for you. It isn't banjo but it's awesome:
Play Your Ukulele