11. Gaining a new life skill

Childhood vs. Adolescence

In my line of work the greatest challenge is to get young people interested in taking on challenges. There is always resistance.

I remember reading an article (citation will be found once searched) that said that when we were all little kids, 12 and younger, we loved taking on challenges and did not particularly care for what those around us thought of us. Playing video games as a kid was a chance to explore ways to manipulate the laws of the game universe to win. But something weird happens when we become teenagers.

Our brains requires social acceptance. In middle school and high school, teen culture teaches us what those around us think matters. We started to question our judgement and look to those around us for approval.

Personal story segment

I vividly recall a group of so-called popular girls in grade eight who criticized my friend’s economic outfit in comparison to my Adidas gear. But my friend felt devastated and even though I stood up for her, I could not help but feel a little elated in the recognition of my “threads”. It is not something I look back on fondly; my current self wants to slap my past self. But that is the way socialization works.

Stopping the cycle

We need to realize that what others around us think does not matter. When it comes to gaining life skills, others’ mockery should never play any part because their limitations and their willingness to act as sheep will contain their life experiences in a very narrow field of play. For those who wish to expand their life experiences, we need to first recognize that we only have one life to live and we have to make the most of it in the here and now.

Steps to take

This means that we must first want to commit to a personal goal.

Next, we must start the learning process, and simultaneously realize that it will not be an easy road. If we’re still in are early to mid twenties, our brain has not completely finished developing its prefrontal cortex. As such, we can still learn many complex things, including languages, math skills, and playing an instrument. However, even if we’re past the point of maximum cerebral elasticity, the brain can still learn, though, not nearly as quickly as it would have earlier. But we must recognize this in order to progress to the next step.

Practice regularly and have specific targets in mind. Learning the piano? Pick an easy piece (like Chopsticks… or Ruff Ryders’ Anthem) and practice it ad nauseum to the point of near mastery.

As you get better, pick much more complex works and try them out. You may feel like you have plateaued, but don’t let it discourage you. You might not be the best musician, or linguist, or mathematician, but you will at least have done well for yourself.

Keep it up, Ace! You’re on your way!

A more detailed article can be found here at lifehacker.com.

Don’t remember what it was like being a kid and having first time experiences? Put yourselves in her shoes:


2 thoughts on “11. Gaining a new life skill”

  1. Aww, this video is so cute! I love her expressions! Your blog is pretty good too 😉 it’s true…. When we’re kids, the world seems like an adventure and I guess the older we get, the more scared we are to experience these adventures….:) keep up the great posts! I enjoyed this one, especially the video!

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