The Learning Curves of Life: There’s always more to know

First of all, thanks for being here. It. means a lot to know that you still took the time out to check out my blog despite it being a few months since my last post.

Second of all, it’s my birthday – shoot me a text to say you read today’s blog! That’ll be a sweet birthday gift; I appreciate reads and feedback more than you know.

Third of all, let’s talk about what’s been on my mind lately, after ending that transitionary period of life and starting my new job.

Learning curves of life

One of the things that I’m constantly told by people at my new job is that the first few months on the job are like “drinking from a fire hose”. This is because of the sheer volume of information flowing through a massive firm like JPMorganChase, and how hard it is to filter through all the noise and decide what to focus on.

And it’s true. There’s a ton of different things to learn at the firm, and it’s extremely hard to decide what it is I want to learn. I could learn about anything and everything under the sun, and the firm would be able to offer some sort of resource for it. But that’s a blessing and a curse.

There’s an expert at everything

I recently had a really refreshing conversation with a friend where we discussed how we’re at this point in our lives where there’s just so much we want to learn and so many things we want to try. What’s crazy about that feeling is that in anything I want to learn, there’s a depth of subject matter knowledge to dive into.

Take for example, the wines class I took my senior year at Cornell, that showed me that people devote their entire lives to wine. Even with my blog – when I started it I had no idea that I’d have to get into the weeds of SEO (search engine optimization), affiliate marketing, advertising, content timelines, subscriptions management etc. I just wanted to write.

From that conversation, I really began to undergo a shift in my perspective of what a career is and what it means to “devote your life” to something. It really made me realize that passion is something that’s so important in life, because the only way you’ll really and truly become the expert at something is if it’s something that you’re passionate about.

What do I mean by a learning curve?

When I talk about a learning curve, I’m talking about all the steps that it takes to acquire a new skill, understand something new or feel comfortable in an uncomfortable space. Meaning for example, it seems rather easy to be able to hit a few keys on the piano, so boom, you’re at the bottom of the learning curve. But once you decide, “hey, let me actually get good at piano” you realize that there’s levels to it. You can learn chord progressions, music theory, classical music and other genres, jazz theory and it opens this pandora’s box of learning opportunities that you couldn’t see until you took that first step.

Recognize learning curves, and embrace them!

I think one of the reasons I’m able to look at new things and take them on with such ambition is because I’ve learnt (and am still learning) how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. I’ve said this before in previous blog posts, but that’s one of the most important things to learn. You’ll never take the step to learning something new if you’re afraid to be a beginner. If you’re afraid to take the first step that is – being uncomfortable and absolutely sucking at something – you won’t be able to even get onto the learning curve.

I think for me, this perspective has been super important as I enter into my adult life, because it’s allowed me to try new things and be okay with being a beginner.

Eg. CrossFit

Recently, in August, I started doing CrossFit. I had no idea how to clean and press (still barely do) and doing exercises like handstand walks and sandbag carries just seemed like a completely different universe to me. I would go to the classes and literally watch the trainer give a demonstration, and 10 times out of 10 have to call to him afterwards and say “hey man, do that again because I have no idea what you just did”.

When I decided I wanted to do Crossfit, it was because I was bored of typical gym routines where you go in and do static push and pull days and sometimes leave without breaking a sweat. I guess as a runner, I’m used to my workouts raising my heart-rate and making me sweat a ton, so that was something that I was searching for. When I started CrossFit, I absolutely did not do any research as to what it was and what the whole CrossFit community looks like. I simply saw that CrossFit athletes moved more and did more dynamic workouts and I was sold.

The CrossFit Learning Curve

For me, being a beginner at CrossFit not only humbled me, but it taught me that 1. it’s a very intense sport and 2. that it’s a very technical activity.

With anything that requires technique, you quickly come to realize that the experts didn’t become experts overnight. They went through years of experience, honing their technique little by little, to the point where it becomes second nature to them. They pass that first steep part of the learning curve where you’re brand new to the activity, and get to the top of the curve where you’re ironing out the details.

I’m certainly still on the steep part of the CrossFit learning curve. I still am not completely sure what exactly a “clean” or a “jerk” is, much less the combination of the two. BUT – I have done them before. And I’ve taken the small step to start to learn what they are. I’ve gotten myself ONTO the learning curve, to be able to begin that journey to climbing it. And there’s so much more to learn.

Conclusion

And I think that’s what I want you to get out of today’s blog post. That thing that you have an interest in? Try it.

That new hobby you always wanted to pick up? What’s stopping you?

The first step to trying something new – to getting onto a learning curve – is often the most difficult and most uncomfortable to take. But as I get older (today, quite literally being my birthday), the more I realize that it’s okay to suck at something. It’s okay to be a beginner, at any age. It’s okay to put yourself in a scenario where you’re at the bottom of the learning curve, because what’s so exciting about it is that once you take the first step, you have so much to learn and be excited about ahead of you.

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