The first time we try something it’s awkward, difficult, and usually not that successful. Trying it again is the only way we can get better at it.
Have you ever played a band instrument? The first time I picked up my new / used clarinet I assembled the pieces, sucked on the reed, and attached it carefully. The keys were beautiful and popped as they opened and closed along the sleek black body. As I blew into the mouthpiece, an awful sound of wind and screech came exploding out the end.
By trying again, I learned to play correctly and my clarinet sounded soothing. Over time, melodies began to emerge.
I’ll Never Do That Again!
We’ve all had experiences that we thought we’d never do again or wouldn’t survive. Remember the first time you asked someone out? Your heart nearly burst out of your chest but you did it and lived to tell the story. When I had our first baby, I thought I was going to die. No wonder, he was 10 ½ pounds! My first plane ride was into bumpy Denver and I thought the plane would crash. And sending our youngest son off to live in New York City took my breath away.
We’ve all experienced ‘firsts’ that were tough. Trying again allows them to get easier if we only give them a chance.
These physical challenges were intimidating for me but got simpler as I tried again.
- Run 8 miles
- Eat what’s good for me even though I didn’t like it
- Run a half marathon
- Have a baby
- Stand on my head
These are so scary that many people avoid trying them even once. They will, however, get easier if you try again.
- Take a risk
- Make a public statement
- Travel overseas
- Let a friend know you’re disappointed
- Sing karaoke
- Speak in front of a group
- Follow your dreams
- Hike the Grand Canyon
- Hold a snake
These become less challenging the second time we do them.
- Make new friends
- Change careers
- Move away from home
- Sell your house
- Leave your children with a babysitter
- Go through a relationship breakup
- Host Christmas dinner
- Take care of ourselves
- Do crossword puzzles
These personal battles can be developed if we have the courage to try them again and again.
- Face the reality of a situation
- Step out of our comfort zone
- Face our inadequacies
- Let go of control
- Accept that we don’t know the answer
- Ask for help
- Hold our tongue
And finally, here are spiritual practices that can become effortless over time.
- Have faith
- Sing as worship
- Pray / Meditate
- Be grateful
- Live with purpose
- Assign positive meaning to life’s events
Switch Our Mindset
To get beyond our first try, we need to switch from a faster-than-the-speed-of-light mindset to a this-is-a-journey mantra. Repeating something that was awkward or difficult doesn’t seem like a good idea. We don’t want to feel the discomfort. But if we understand that the first time is the most difficult, we give ourselves room to try again with the hope that it will become easier.
Give Yourself a Break
The next time you’re quick to judge yourself or others on your failed first attempt, take a step back. Allow for mistakes and awkwardness. Only then will you begin to see the full potential. Only then are you open to the possibilities.