3.5 Reasons To Try Something New Today
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University recently published an article to explain how learning new things creates and improve neural pathways. They established a link between these pathways and our ability to learn more new things, better and faster, going forward.
In plain speak, learning new things improves brain functioning. Practicing new skills increases your brain’s white matter, which helps you better perform all kinds of other tasks.
In addition, contrary to popular opinion, they found the ability to learn new things isn’t hindered by age. You can make new neural pathways regardless of how old you are. Some even say learning helps prevent dementia.
While the physiological evidence may be enough to convince you to pick up that new hobby you’ve been considering, there are other solid reasons as well. Learning new things adds real value to your life.
How does life improve when you try new things?
Get Grounded in Humility
“I think in between where you are and where you want to be is a sea of reasons why you can’t get there.” — Garth Brooks
I recently watched the documentary, The Road I’m On, about world-famous country-western singer Garth Brooks. He described coming to Nashville for the first time, believing only committing to the move almost assured his success. He ended up struggling just like any new artist and returned home to Oklahoma in failure.
It took some time for him to work up his courage to return. Once he did, he became the most successful country music artist of all time — packing out venues and becoming the highest-earning country music star ever to live.
Humility is undoubtedly part of his natural personality. Garth’s high energy performances are sincere. One of the most fascinating aspects of his life story is when he decided to trade fame for a chance to be there to raise his daughters.
Garth makes it clear in his documentary that he had a lot to learn about being a dad. For the next fifteen years, he poured his heart into it. Maybe you could claim he was rich, so how hard could it be? But he didn’t use his money to outsource being a father. Despite having hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposal, he cooked plain meals, packed lunches, and played chauffeur to his kids just like every other parent.
You could be on top of the world in your line of work, but nothing humbles a person like trying and failing. It reminds you that you’re human and capable of failing just like everyone else.
Humility grounds your values and makes you relatable to others.
Gain Confidence in Success
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Someone’s coffee mug
Learning new skills can be a gateway to figuring out what you want to do with your life. It can foster pride and self-confidence even if it doesn’t turn into a new career.
Madonna was originally a dancer and a waitress before becoming the famous musician we all know her for.
Lady Gaga was dropped by her first record label after only three months. This failure caused her to experiment with her style and became one of the world’s most influential artists.
Stephen King was a teacher in rural Maine when he wrote his first novel, Carrie. It was rejected over 30 times before he finally tossed it in the trash. Thanks to his wife, we all got to watch it on the big screen. She rescued it from the garbage, and it was accepted on its 31st submittal.
He also wrote the short story behind my favorite movie, Shawshank Redemption. It was made into a film and released in 1994 to an abysmal opening. It only became a cult classic slowly over time and ranks as one of the most quotable movies ever made. Turn on your TV any Sunday any time of year, and you’ll no doubt find it screening.
It’s helpful to know most people don’t knock it out of the park on their first try at something new. Getting good requires dedication and commitment. Confidence is earned over time.
While those words look good on paper and not revolutionary advice, living it is the difficult part. Failing without quitting takes discipline. It’s easy to give up long before you ever really develop a skill for anything.
Failure is life’s natural “barrier to entry.”
Keep Life Interesting
“Get busy living or get busy dying. That’s goddam right.” -Shawshank Redemption
Maybe your current job is a bore, but the pay is good. Perhaps you’re between jobs and trying to figure out what’s next for you. Lots of people find themselves adrift personally and professionally at times.
Exploring fun, interesting hobbies staves off boredom. It may even open up a whole new world for you.
Trying something new opens up possibilities that exist in life. Meeting new people broadens your understanding of the world. It doesn’t mean everyone you meet is your new best friend, or every hobby you pick up could be the next big thing in your life. The simple act of learning something new could be enough to fulfill you. Not everything you do has to have a goal attached.
“There is no failure as long as you learn from your experience, continue to work, and continue to press on for success.” -Maya Angelou
While failing is never fun, there are life-changing reasons to put yourself out there in the spirit of learning. The task of learning not only improves brain function but brightens your outlook on life. Sometimes your endeavor’s lead to unique opportunities. More often, they exist as amusement in the moment and add tremendous value to your life over time with practice.