Beginner Phobia

Why does it seem like most days people are afraid to start something new? Are they afraid of what other people think? That it will be too hard? That it will drain and waste too much of their energy? Or maybe it's something else entirely...  Maybe they're just scared to be a beginner.

Everyone wants to be the expert, the black belt, the famous one, but 99% of the population expects to become this legend overnight sensation. No ones willing to be the noob aka "The Beginner." Why is that? Why does starting off from square one seem so daunting and hard to so many people? A lot of it has to do with what I mentioned above. 

Beginners look awkward when they start, and feel even more uncomfortable as well. They don't want to get made fun of, glared at, or talked about behind their back. They want to be the ones doing the talking. They want to be the expert to avoid the pain of looking silly.

Beginners have it tough. Whenever you start a new venture, hobby, sport or whatever, there will always be someone who is ten times better than you. It's overwhelming when other people are so far ahead in their journey; it's like when you try to see them on the horizon, they look like a tiny little dot in the distance. This difference in skill and experience makes it seem impossible to catch up, as if it would take them a million years. 

What about all the energy they have to spend starting? They have to learn a whole new vocabulary, new moves, new rules and need to be working hours upon hours practicing on their craft. At first, it's fun because you get to buy all the new stuff and learn at an accelerated rate, but eventually, you hit a wall and realize that it's going to take a lot of effort to get good at this. Hitting the wall is the point when most people quit.

So what's the difference between the beginner and the expert? The answer? Their mindset.

The expert decides that despite all the obstacles and hardship that stands in their way, they're going to do what ever takes, work hard anyways, and kept working until they finally leveled up. After that? They repeated the process over and over again. They knew that it was going to be tough, but they did it anyways. They endured and embraced the awkward looks. They hit the wall and kept working hard, despite not seeing results sometimes for days, weeks, months, or heck even years at a time. They drained their energy tanks to empty and kept on going. 

The beginner has a tough road ahead of them, but here are some things to remember that could help motivate and inspire you to keep pushing forward.

"A rocket ship uses more fuel during the first few minutes of its flight than it does the rest of the entire trip. Why? Because it had to break free from the pull of gravity. Once it does, it can glide into orbit. The hard part? Getting off the ground." - Darren Hardy, 'The Compound Effect.'

A beginner is like the rocket ship in it's first few minutes of flight, except those first few minutes actually last months or years at a time. It takes a lot of energy to get started, but just like the rocket ship, once you get off the ground, and get into orbit (the swing of things) it becomes much easier to keep going.

"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." - Arthur Ashe

You've probably heard this a million of times, but have you ever stopped and seriously gave it some thought? As I grow older I realize how monumentally important the message of this quote is. You see character isn't built by someone handing you a certificate or a black belt, it's built by the journey it took to get there. Without the journey, the hardships, the failures, the victories, and success your appreciation for what you have achieved would not be the same.

Think about a pool on a hot summer day. Which one of these scenarios would feel better? Going outside and jumping straight in? Or going on a long run and rewarding yourself with the cool sensation of the water? I don't know about you, but nothing feels better than jumping into a big body of water after building some heat. It seems much more rewarding and I appreciate it so much more. That's what the destination is like.

You need to have the tough turbulent experience to appreciate the destination.

"A black belt doesn’t mean anything. The meaning is in the journey." – Gunnar Nelson

Think about a black belt for a second. It come's with a lot of prestige and recognition right? When you hear that someone's a black belt you automatically assume that it means that they are some type of god among men. The problem is that not all those who have black belts are built equal. Anyone can wear a black belt. You can purchase one online right now and no one would ever know that you were a fraud. That is until someone challenges you to prove yourself.

The black belt in and of itself means nothing!

 Yes, it comes with a certain level of respect and is visual proof that a student has worked their ass off, but the journey to get there is what most high level black belts appreciate the most. When a black belt wears a lower ranking belt what changes? Nothing. Only their appereance. The person wearing the black belt is what makes the black belt what it is, not the belt itself.

"You've got to be a beginner before you can be anything else" - Anonymous

All the greats, the legends, the experts, they were all beginners at one point too. No one magically becomes an overnight sensation, although it definitly may seem that way. It's exciting for me to think that Michael Phelps at one point of his life looked like an awkward fish in water. That Tiger Wood was hacking the grass away trying to hit the golf ball. That LeBron James was missing free throws left and right. Why is this exciting to me? Because look at where they're at now! It's important to remember that all these legends at one point where beginners and nobodies just like everyone else. They combined natural talent and hard-work to become great, but at one point of their lives they were on the same playing field as everyone else.

This is exciting because it means that even though I might be a beginner now on the same level and playing field as everyone else, if I work hard, stay diligent, push past the resistance and never give up, eventually I'm going to rise above and make it to the next level. I may never be a legend like Muhammad Ali or maybe I will, but if I don't start and keep at it, how will I ever know? 

So... what's stopping you from getting started?

-Coach K