Thursday, May 10, 2012

Learning New Skills - A Determined Approach

Ok, so that wasn't so bad.

I finally learned how to juggle. I'm far from an expert, and this is hardly noteworthy, but I can juggle three balls for an indefinite amount of time. I've wanted to learn to juggle for years, but I just never really applied myself. In fact, I have a (mental) list of all kinds of skills/etc. that I want to learn to do but haven't yet conquered. More on that below. But why juggling? Why now?

My wife can juggle, and I admit that I'm a bit jealous at the way the kids loved to watch when they were younger. At my new (ish) job, the co-founder likes to juggle. We have piles of bean bags and balls all over the place. He seems to think it's a worthwhile activity and has even gone so far as to offer to teach his fellow employees.

So that's what got me going.

This isn't the first item on my mental list I've crossed off. A couple of years ago I sat down and decided it was time to learn how to do crossword puzzles. Before that, it was overcoming my fear of powertools. I also learned to make english toffee and brownies from scratch. How to use an SLR and a DSLR camera. (And I'm sure there are some items I'm forgetting... goals around fitness/etc.)

My method is simple brute force. I research a bit first, and then I dive in and just keep trying. I know this isn't revolutionary, and that's probably how everyone does it.

The best part is that I've learned that for me, I can learn things by applying myself. Well, that and setting (for me) realistic goals. I didn't set out to learn to juggle nine flaming chainsaws. I didn't set out to finish the NYT Sunday crossword in pen in < 30 mins. But I set goals, applied myself and then was rewarded with some measurable amount of success.

I want to be sure that my kids enjoy success via a similar approach.

And next? What's next on my list of skills/accomplishments?

Believe it or not, I'm thinking it will be knitting or crochet. No really!


  1. A kind of bucket list, only of things to learn instead of places to go - I LOVE IT!

    I will have to send you some yarn from my sheep for your next learning endeavor...

  2. Exactly! Maybe I should add "learn to spin wool/fiber" too...

  3. 3 balls? I'm impressed! But how do you learn how to do crossword puzzles? Don't you just fill it in if you know the answer? I agree with your learning method. Works for me too. Have to warn you that spinning is addictive. So relaxing. Did you know that the fastest spinner in the world is a man? Both knitting and crochet are a lot of fun too.

  4. I never had any luck with crossword puzzles. There's more to it though, than just knowing the answers. You can deduce letters/patterns. Plus the clues give you hints if you know how to read them. I know it sounds silly, but until I really applied myself, they were a mystery to me. :)

    Any suggestion for the best way to start learning to crochet? Large needle things?