I’ve been spending a lot of time researching how the brain works. And one thing is clear from the research–everyone should make it a priority to learn new things that are outside the comfort zone.
Learning something new is often frustrating, energy taxing, and even downright embarrassing. But it is by far the #1 way to improve your mind’s speed, accuracy, creativity and overall function
Thinking about this, I came upon an idea. I should learn how to juggle! I failed the juggling test in high school gym class (I even failed juggling with scarfs!) so this will be a good challenge for me. Plus juggling has all kinds of brain benefits like improving hand-eye coordination, reflexes, peripheral vision and motor skills.
To keep me honest and motivated I am going to livestream my juggling practices. If I am practicing my juggling, I will be livestreaming it.
Why not right?
The Importance of Learning New Things
Proficiency is more important than mastery. Learning how to play the piano, a new board game or a sport pretty well is all you need to gain cognitive benefits. It has been proven that during the learning process, after a certain point of proficiency, there are not major brain benefits like there was in the beginning.
Getting pretty good is all that matters. To gain the most brain benefits from learning you should achieve a level of proficiency that you feel good about and then try something new! New learning, no matter what it is, stimulates your brain and sharpens your mind in ways that benefit you far beyond the new skill you are learning.
New learning creates new neural pathways. New neural pathways accelerates critical thinking, creativity and the connection between ideas. You are the sum of your brain’s neural connections. And creating new connections is easy, just make an effort to learn something new everyday.
Learning is Uncomfortable
I used to believe and tell others “I don’t like to do things I am not good at.” I now realize that believing that statement has hindered my ability to be more creative, a better problem solver and critical thinker in my everyday life.
The brain is designed to see patterns, establish habits and conserve mental energy. This is why we tend to stick to what we know and avoid new things that are not critical for survival. This mindset creates a mind that is slower, less adaptable to change and rigid in its ways of thinking. It’s not apparent at first, but it happens over time, and leads to a path toward depression, anxiety and eventually alzheimer’s in old age.
Why Am I Doing This?
I owe it to my brain, my career and my future.
Livestreaming every second of my juggling practice will help me stick to it and make me accountable to more people than just myself. I hope you enjoy watching me struggle, fail, get a better with each practice time. I am excited to finally conquer something I thought I would never be able to do.
I don’t expect many views on these videos (they are painful and boring to watch as you can see below), but I am curious to record my progress and see how many hours it takes to get the basics down. Learning something new takes time and requires a bit of struggle and frustration that can feel defeating. I am not going to let myself give up until I can keep those damn balls in the air.