One Little Word That Can Help You Succeed at Anything

It's always a little scary to try something new, including minimalism.

Let's say you decide to curate a capsule wardrobe, navigate a city you've never visited, or learn how to play Minecraft from your 6-year-old grandson.  You're about to gain information and learn skills that are different from what you've done before, and you're going to access abilities that may be rusty or undeveloped.

Here's the problem.

At the beginning, or at some point along the way, you're going to feel unsure of yourself.  You may even feel like the whole process is too detailed or too hard.

News flash – this is what growth feels like.  Growth is exciting, but it's also uncomfortable.  You won't know if you can do the new task until you do it.  But once you get to the other side, you're going to wonder why you waited so long to try.

Choose your mindset.

When you embark on a new project – before you get to those uncomfortable moments of growth – you need to decide who you are.

If you consider yourself to be someone who has a spirit of adventure and likes to try new things, you'll be prepared to encounter those nervous feelings.  Otherwise, when your brain spews out negative thoughts (and it will, because no path to learning is ever completely smooth), you might listen to it.  Your brain will say, "I don't get this.  It's too different/detailed/hard."  And then you might say, "I quit."

But as an adventurous learner you'll think, "I don't get this... yetBut I will."

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Practice is powerful.

Instead of feeling dumb because we don't know how to do something we've never done before, we need to feel free to be beginners.  We don't have to feel afraid, stupid, or incompetent.  We can be curious and ready to learn.

When I was teaching first graders how to read (and when I taught my own children in our home school), my mantra was, "No one, not even Albert Einstein, was born knowing everything."  As Harry Potter says when he's teaching other students defensive spells, "Every great wizard, no matter how talented, started where we are today – as students."

Students need time, patience, encouragement, good explanations or demonstrations, and the opportunity to practice.  Practice may include a lot of "failure" – situations when the attempted skill doesn't happen, when things don't go right.  Practice leaves plenty of room to try, over and over, tweaking and adjusting, until you can do it.

How one word makes a difference.

That's why this one word can get you back on track when you're feeling defeated.  When you find yourself thinking, "I don't get this," add that one little word, "yet."

By adding this one word, you build confidence, because it conjures a vision of the future when you do "get it."

This isn't just a trick, because your thoughts influence everything.  Focus on past failures or difficulties, and your thoughts will limit your ability to accomplish a task.  Focus on future mastery and ease, and your thoughts increase your likelihood of success.

As you try that new recipe, start your own blog, or let go of all your backups and "just in case" belongings, decide to have this attitude:  "I just haven't learned that yet... but I will."  Letting yourself be a beginner frees you from your perfectionist tendencies and keeps your mind young.  It helps you move beyond moments of self-doubt until you master the new skill.

Now I'm off to learn how to build my first shelter in Minecraft – before the Mobs get me!

Related article: 11 Common Traps to Avoid When Decluttering

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Updated July 2023


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