I Don’t Know How To Do That

Posted on June 13, 2012 by


I hear people saying things like this all the time:

          I don’t know how to cook.

          I don’t know how to speak Spanish. 

          I don’t know how to play guitar.

and it makes me wonder,

Have you lost the ability to learn as an adult?

You know people that have learned how to cook, learned to speak Spanish, or learned how to play guitar.  You may even know someone who has done all three.  Are they geniuses?  Hardly.

They just spent time learning a skill.  They practiced it on a regular basis.  They enjoyed doing it and the results they were getting.  They got better over time.

Eventually they went from beginner to intermediate to Good Enough.  That is probably where they stopped.  Unless they are making a living with those skills.

Why don’t you start learning right now?

I ask people this question and I get responses like:

          I am too old.

          I will never be a master.

          I don’t have enough time.

and it makes me wonder,

Do you really believe your own excuses?

There is no such thing as too old to learn.

There is a myth that has permeated our culture that the brain loses its ability to develop, change and learn new skills after a certain age.

It couldn’t be further from the truth.  The more we learn about the brain the more we realize that it is a dynamic organ that changes over time to meet our needs. 

There are so many stories of adults learning new skills that it is really maddening that this excuse continues to surface.

You don’t need to be a master.

Ask a room full of children if they know how to draw.  How many children do you think would raise their hand?  All of them of course.

Now ask a room full of adults the same question.   How many adults do you think would raise their hand?  Probably none of them.

We live in a culture where it isn’t desirable to be mediocre at something.  You are either a master or you don’t try.

I refuse to accept these two extremes as the only options.  I am proud of being Good Enough at a number of skills and I think you should be too.

It isn’t about time.  It is about setting priorities.

You knew this excuse was bogus before it even left your lips.  The truth is that we all have plenty of time in our day  that we waste on television and internet.

I enjoy doing both and I am not saying that you can’t have them in your life.  Just don’t use lack of time as a reason why you aren’t learning new skills.

I have found that 30 minutes a day focused towards a specific skill can result in noticeable progress.  I work a full-time job, have a kid, cook all the meals for my family and still find 3o minutes a day to practice guitar.

What are you going to learn first?


If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy:

Practice Makes Perfect

Who Wants to be A Master?  I Want to be Good Enough.

Are We There Yet?