Have you tried something new this month? This year? As children, we tried dozens of new things a day. But as we grow older our list of responsibilities grows with us, taking up our time and energy. Trying something new becomes a risk, a luxury, or both.
Trying new things has literally changed my life. You wouldn’t be reading these words if I hadn’t tried learning how to write for a living. Thanks to trying new things I’ve gone sky diving, traveled internationally alone, and shared a lap dance with my 80-year old grandma — to name a few.
Today for example, I’m helping my dad with a big project and he’s going to teach me how to wire fluorescent lights. Something I’ve never done in my life. I really hope I don’t electrocute myself and I’m glad he’ll be there to help me. After today though, I can add it to my list of new things I tried.
It’s Good for Your Brain
Being curious is a good thing, and it feels good! Seeking out new things to try releases dopamine, a chemical released by our brains that makes us feel good. But that’s not all, behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski explains how trying new things literally changes our brain for the better,
“When you seek novelty, several things are going on. First of all, you are creating new synaptic connections with every new activity you engage in. These connections build on each other, increasing your neural activity, creating more connections to build on other connections — learning is taking place.”
Overcome Your Fear of Failure
At some point when you try something new, you will fail. The bad news is, it sucks. The good news is, there’s nothing wrong with failing. Odds are, you’ll do better the next time.
Failure is how you learn and the more you learn, the better you get.
You build your knowledge a little more every time you try. With every new attempt, you get a little better until one day your new thing comes as naturally as reading and you realize you’ve achieved your goal. Once that happens, your victory feels even better because of the risks you took and the failure you overcame.
Perks of Being at the Bottom
Trying something new means starting from the bottom.
It sounds bad but there are worse places to be. Like, in the middle when you hit a plateau and you need to decide to give up or preserver. The bottom is exciting and new. It’s where you build your foundation for success.
The view from the bottom gives you an opportunity to look up at the methods of the leaders in the industry or topic. What worked for them and what didn’t? Use this information to form your own strategy, work ethic, or technique. Learn from their mistakes. Adjust accordingly than try it again, and again. The beauty is there’s no limit to how many times you try. Nothing but possibility lies ahead for you.
Trying new things adds to your repertoire of experiences. The more you take the leap, the more your fear will be replaced with a sense of adventure. Our brains are thirsty for knowledge, the more you give it the better you feel and the longer you’ll feel good.
Psychologist Rich Walker explains,
“People who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions and minimize negative ones than people who have fewer experiences.”
Remember the excitement of childhood when you rode a bike, learned to swim, or the first story you wrote? Your world suddenly got a little bigger with this new thing.
Curiosity and our willingness to try new things dim as we get older. We have more responsibilities, more expectations of ourselves and others that get in the way of letting go in the moment. We need to remember not to take life so seriously.
Children look at adults and assume they are capable of anything and everything — and we are. There really isn’t much you can’t do. Period. You are capable of anything and everything.
The only thing you have to do is try.