Why do we get so weirdly embarrassed when we’re learning a new sport or skill or craft?

PERSON: “Are these your paintings?”
US: ‘Ya… but like, i’m JUST STARTING and I haven’t had any OFFICIAL TRAINING and this is just a HOBBY, and these paintings here aren’t my BEST ONES, you know, and uh, erm…”
and so forth.
I notice it in the surf
Girls who are learning, yet sit out on the shoulder and don’t go for waves when they roll in
Cause some old dude is going for it too
And in the girls head she has this running dialogue like “well they’re probably a better surfer and i’m just going to fall off anyway so, you know, I’ll just wait for another one.”


I get it. We don’t really allow much space for people in this world who are just… average at something. We have a worldwide hard-on for the SUPER FREAKISHLY TALENTED. Anything before that is invisible.
And yes, it’s true. The Olympics wouldn’t be nearly as thrilling if it was a bunch of dads with beer guts who just started jogging six weeks ago and have to stop halfway through the race and walk the rest of the way, wheezing.


Surf comps wouldn’t be so fun to watch if it was a bunch of beginners shakily getting to their knees, wobbling across the face and throwing up their hands going ‘woo! I’m flying!’


learn to surf


But life is not TV.

People don’t just bust out the womb ready to surf fifteen-foot monsters
Learning is a big juicy part of it
Sometimes, it’s all of it
What if you don’t even wanna surf fifteen-foot monsters
You don’t want to get your paintings in an art gallery
You just wanna do it cause… you know, it’s fun?


You are legitimate in whatever sport or skill or craft you’re pursuing
At whatever stage you’re at
No matter how much of a boob you think you look like (and hey, maybe you do.) But you are JUST as legitimate as the person sitting next to you twice your age who probably started the thing when you were still in your dads bag (lol, I had to.)

My advice?

You are training your body to move a NEW WAY
Your mind to twist and turn in new angles of CREATIVITY
There is stuff you don’t know yet, but you will.
OWN your beginner-ness, whole heartedly.


When you’re learning
And everything is new and frustrating and exciting.


If you’re learning, say, surf
Paddle out intentionally
Plant yourself in the middle of the line-up of twenty dudes.
Hustle and go for waves just like everyone else
And if someone tries to drop in on you or take the wave, fucking scream black and blue
Tell them to back the fuck up
Claim that wave
Because you have a drop to fail
A bottom-turn to completely ruin
A messy wipeout to complete
like a queen
Thank you very much.


If you’re just starting yoga
Roll out your mat
Right at the front of the class
Let the seasoned experts sit behind you
And watch you collapse on your face as you try crow pose
And come up laughing


Because if you make that space,
If you treat it like, I am HERE and I am MF LEARNING like a boss
You are creating that space for other people to learn without shame too.
And that- to me – is exponentially cooler than any prodigy or insanely skilled person blowing up the world stage.


This is re-purposed from our September Love Bomb… our monthly emails intended to get you geared up for the month ahead. If you’re into it and wish to start receiving our monthly newsletters, sign up at the very bottom of this page!
Feature Image: Lex Weinstein