The Last Time You Did Something New For The First Time?


Last weekend I was walking down the stairs at the Jagiellonian University, where I took up a Corporate Finance major, I noticed a small sign that clearly enchained my attention. There was a question, prima facie, a really simple one “When was the last time you did something new for the first time?” However, after a while, it became more and more haunting. I realized it was not as easy as I had previously thought, actually, it was quite a hard nut to crack. I had a long time thinking of how would I answer that question. And, to my surprise, my latest new thing was writing a social-like blog post, which shockingly, was given a really warm reception and positive feedback. This is a good opportunity to thank each of you for giving me a huge boost to continue my way of a rookie blogger.

I came up with a conclusion that most of the society tend not to put up new activities, not because they do not want or cannot afford them, but they are just not able to come to terms with the fact that learning is a long process. It just does not happen overnight. I am curious by nature, and learning is fun for me, so I spend a fair amount of time at it. The learning schemes are more sophisticated that one would imagine and they have one thing in common they have to be overlapped numerous of time to finally gain a new skill.
Personally, I am a massive fan of David Kolb’s theories of acquiring new knowledge. Even though 40 years has gone by since his works on the subject, all of the recent models have similar foundations and fundamentals.

We can divide the whole into four parts:

1. Concrete experience (what happened?)
2. Observation of and reflection on that experience (How did it happen?)
3, Formation of abstract concepts based on the reflection (Why did it happen?)
4. Testing the new concepts (How can I use it in my life?)

It has to be stated, that each of us can start the learning in whatever phase we want. It is what makes us different, we tend to start learning differently trying to achieve the same goals. And it is a good thing, the bad is that most of us stop at some point, we simply give up. Why? And there comes the harsh truth, we have no guts, no patience, no will to accept the initial failure. No human wants to be awful at something, even at the very beginning of the rocky road of getting skillful at fresh activities.

Can you remember how many times you had to fall to the ground until you managed to ride the bicycle for the first? Probably countless (well it definitely took me more than an average person, pity). Did you know that Michael Jordan practised, on the average including holidays and “off days”, about six hours a day? Every day, every season, he showed up in the morning ready to sweat, ready to sacrifice his own sleep and life to be closer to the excellence – which he later achieved as the greatest basketball player of all time (maybe even a sportsman).

And then you hear folks saying that they have tried something once or twice, and they are pretty damn sure that they suck at that… does it make any sense? Not really… If you have practiced something for a straight year and you see no results of your work, maybe the problem is your approach, your working ethics, your plan not the activity itself? Albert Einstein once said “What is insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Quite a wise man, wasn’t he?

As naively as it may sound, the first step to getting started is actually getting started, the second one is not giving up once you are not getting there where you want instantly. Nope, you won’t – stop asking.
On the other side, doesn’t success taste good? Isn’t is it the best prize of doing something? That awesome feel of accomplishment and fulfillment. I dare you to fail, but I won’t let you give up – never.

From my perspective, this year has been full of disappointing events, after some I felt terribly and I am not trying to exaggerate. I had a dream of riding the motorbike, and I started attending a driving course just after my 26th birthday. The beginning was really difficult to me, during the fourth or fifth lesson, I had an accident. I learned the hard way that you are not able to break aggressively on the sand while turning… I had a very painful lowside that left me bruised and scratched a lot. I had a number of serious thoughts of abandoning the course since I got scared a bit… Fortunately, I did not. After several months, and many many additional hours of training in the full sun I managed to pass the test. My happiness could not be measured. So are the memories collected in my mind while riding the whole summer with friends of mine, taking photos of sunsets off our helmet cameras, and getting plenty of wonderful views of hills, castles and Polish fauna and flora. This is how the pure joy in life looks like, don’t you think?
While talking about my career, I failed to change my job in early June this year, a position that was at the time seen by me as a great chance of stepping into an incredible development path. Right now things have changed, I am 5 weeks away from starting a totally new occupancy, where I am convinced I will be able to use my skills even on a wider scale and develop into a solid financial coach. There is a text written by a friend of mine, Piotr Gankiewicz, who described the way I could feel perfectly, and why I should not have felt that way.

Persistence is the key to successful life, period. Can you afford to give up? Can you manage not to even trying? Can you handle being in the same spot in 5 or 10 years? I hope y’all cannot. I strongly encourage you to find yourself in a place where you start to feel that you are going in the right direction. That your life is fully in your hands, and you can feel a smile on your face time after time. I wish you all that from my heart because I believe once you are on that long and demanding road, it is much harder to go off it Undoubtedly, you may be lost, you may have to take a detour, even you may have stop for a while, but ultimately your wheels will be still moving.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill.

Tomasz Kurowski

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