My friends invited me over for board games, and at one point, we were trying to decide what game to play next.
“Do you want to play the one we played last time or learn a new one?” they asked.
The one I knew would be easy to start, and I could actually compete to the win. But I chose the new one.
As my friend began explaining the rules, I was completely lost. Yet as we started playing, I started figuring it out. And by the end of the game, I had the hang of it. I didn’t win – in fact, I came in last, by a lot – but I know what to do differently next time I play that game.
And this is why I always say yes to trying new things. Salsa dancing? Sure! Kickboxing-type workout? Sign me up! Lead climbing? On belay!
I might suck at first (and, believe me, I often do, especially with anything that involves body coordination, like that salsa dancing or, oh, say, dynos!), but I’ve discovered that after the first or second or tenth or hundredth try, I can usually start to make some progress.
Just the other day, I had someone ask me what grade I climbed when I started about a year ago. I distinctly remembered an easy route that I struggled on, and how proud I was to finish it on a second visit. It’s amazing to think back to where I was then, now that I warm up on routes harder than that.
Each time I hit another plateau in my climbing progress, it’s a good reminder of how far I’ve come, and that someday, this grade will feel easier, too. And it’s important to keep trying the grades that are a challenge for me, because that’s the only way to figure out how to do them.
If you stick with what you know, that’s where you’ll stay.
So when given a choice between succeeding at something I know I can do or failing at something I don’t know how to do (yet), I choose failing. Because that means I choose growth.