Being unskilled doesn’t mean you’re inferior as a person; most people aren’t good at doing new things. But, after putting in some effort and time, they can achieve an undeniable prowess, and so can you.
But don’t expect to be amazing when you first try something. It’ll be a struggle at first.
Who knows what talents you’ve had lying dormant within you? You’ll never realize this unless you try.
It helps to know what to expect beforehand so you don’t quit what could have been your life’s purpose.
When you’re unskilled with anything new, expect the following:
- Your progression is going to be slower than you’d like.
- Accept that you won’t be phenomenal at first. Don’t expect instant success.
- It won’t be easy, and you might try to talk yourself into quitting.
If you get over the initial hump of inexperience, then you can soak in all the perks of becoming an expert!
The following is how to survive your unskilled phase:
1. First, ask yourself why you want to build this skill?
“Self-confidence builds when you try new things without fear of failure.”
— Venkat Desireddy
It always helps to know why you want to accomplish any goal. Your reason will help you persist through the hard patches.
So, ask yourself why you want to be an expert? What will you gain from it? For example, money, having pride in your specialty, or others’ appreciation of your work.
Once you know why you need this skill, it’ll be much easier to stick with it till you reach the master level.
2. Accept the fact that you’ll be unskilled for a while
“Trying new things is the only way you’re going to learn what your passions are.”
— Lauren Skonieczny
Chances are, you’ll be pretty terrible at first. But when you accept this, you take a ton of pressure off of yourself and gain an ideal, calm state for learning and improving. We’ll often pile so much stress on every outcome that we eventually believe it’s impossible to create value.
What matters is how you respond to your current subpar creations. If you don’t expect a masterpiece, you’ll experiment and explore with more freedom. That’s where creativity and skills are born!
3. Start with micro-steps to your goal
“Try new things and discover yourself every single day.”
— Bhavya Choudhary
A bit of progress every day will lead you closer to your goal. Forget about becoming an overnight success; instead, be in it for the long haul! Slow progress is far superior to none at all. Rushed or forced progress will train you to make sloppy, careless work.
4. Be patient, you won’t be unskilled forever
Don’t give up because you think you’ll never build skills. With time and practice, you will improve but it won’t be overnight. So keep at it!
5. Believe that with practice, you’ll improve
“To learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong.”
— Roy T. Bennett
Just because you’re unskilled at the moment, doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way! Your brain transforms with experience, so with practice, you can hard-wire new skills.
But you can only use this ability if you develop a growth mindset. This means you believe that with effort and practice, you will improve!
6. Schedule times for practicing and learning
“We don’t know who we are until we see what can we do.”
— Martha Grimes
Don’t get discouraged with how long it’ll take to become masterful. Because it’s actually a good thing, it takes so long to reach your goals. Since, in the beginning, you’ll feel like you’re flailing around, confused, and lost. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them.
Never let making mistakes make you feel bad about yourself! As long as you’re trying, that’s all that truly matters. Oddly enough, it’s those epic fails that ingrain the lessons you needed to learn the most!
7. Take care of yourself and your mind
“Often you will end up loving the new things you try and even if you don’t love it, you’ve given yourself a new experience.”
— Alli Simpson
Take it easy on yourself, especially during this crucial time in the learning process. Don’t beat yourself up for not being an expert already. The beginning of your journey is the hardest part. So, you’re going to need your support, and it will get easier!
In order to smooth the transition from beginner to intermediate, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat right, take breaks and exercise.
Acknowledge every microscopic win and congratulate yourself for it! That might seem weird, but it’ll encourage you to persevere to become more than unskilled.
Ask yourself every day what you did well, how you improved, and what fears you overcame to do it.
8. Find your flow and move past the unskilled level
“Flow can only truly be achieved when we are willing to let go of the outcome and just play.”
— Sandra Taylor Hedges
You can get into the flow when you’re 100% absorbed in your work, and your subconscious takes over. You feel energetic and on top of the world. Not to mention, you lose all insecurities about perfectionism or failing. Then you’re free to create your best work.
You earn the state of flow with intense, repetitive practice. When you do something so many times, it becomes second nature. Then you’ll hardly have to think at all!
After each flow experience, you transform into someone better than you were before. As you improve, make your lessons more and more difficult, so your potential expands.
Furthermore, you’ll feel powerful and in control, because the skills you’re building are going to change your life!
After a while, all you have to do is step back and have fun while your subconscious does the work!
9. Examine your mistakes and learn how to prevent them
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”
— Theodore Levitt
When we were children, we learned to avoid mistakes like the plague. Mostly because of the constant grading of our work. Getting “A’s” meant we were going to be successful adults.
Although if you get a big, fat “F” on your paper, you’re taught to think you’re doomed to be a loser for life. That’s pretty intense for a child!
What’s worse is these beliefs get burned into our brains for so many years that we end up carrying them into adulthood.
But now it’s time to reprogram yourself.
In reality, failing is a priceless learning opportunity; it’s not even a bad thing. Besides, you don’t have to do everything perfectly to succeed.
Repeated setbacks numb you from the pain of embarrassment, and as a result, you unleashed your potential. You’ve one-upped your competition because they’re terrified of making mistakes, and you’re used to it! Nothing can hold you back!
10. Push yourself out of the unskilled phase
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Don’t stagnate in your unskilled comfort zone. You’ll make excuses for why you shouldn’t do something out of the ordinary, so you might need to force yourself out of it. But it’ll be worth it!
So, schedule and enforce the times you’ll dedicate to skill-building.
11. Don’t compare your work to an expert
“Try new things everyday. Don’t be afraid of failures. You will not lose anything. But your brain will be packed with experiences.”
— Akash Ryan Agarwal
All in all, it’s to your benefit to make it through the unskilled phase of learning. You never know what untapped talents you’ve hidden from yourself by not trying them. Don’t let your subpar results cause you to quit too soon. Accept that you’re learning and keep at it! Schedule when you’ll practice, and make sure you follow through with it every time.
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