Do things badly and let others do the same
By Michele Provenzano
Go try something new and be bad at it.
Trying out a new hobby or activity is an opportunity for growth. But too often, we’re scared to try new things because we’re reluctant to be bad at something. There’s pressure—internal and external—to be good at all the things we do.
A study published by the American Psychological Association reveals that today’s students have higher expectations and are more demanding of themselves and others compared to previous generations. The study suggests that students feel higher levels of societal pressure to be perfect. We need to not only allow but encourage people to do things they might be bad at. This is where hobbies come in.
Hobbies benefit us in many ways. They encourage being present in the moment. They challenge us. They provide us with a break for de-stressing and fun. They are beneficial for our minds and even our bodies, considering that participating in activities we enjoy can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Many people have a certain hobby, passion, or calling that they feel attached to—perhaps overly attached. For example, an individual may have started illustrating at a young age and, having done so ever since, they may feel as though this is their greatest talent—and possibly their purpose. However, when a passion reaches this level, the individual may start to put pressure on themselves to create perfect art or achieve an impossible level of greatness with it. The hobbies we get attached to can almost become paralyzing to approach once we’ve put this pressure on ourselves.
It can be helpful to find a new hobby that you can let yourself suck at. A hobby which you’re willing to admit to yourself and others that you know almost nothing about. It can be refreshing to have such a hobby, as you’re not fully invested in the outcome or product. You can simply give it a go and see what happens.
Not caring if you completely fail can be liberating. You can express yourself freely and explore new sides of yourself. No matter how bad you are at something to start, you undoubtedly improve with practice. Also, playing around with a new hobby or activity may spark your interest again in the hobby you associate with a negative pressure to excel. Attempting something new can make you see your other passions in a new light.
Oftentimes we meet judgmental observers and their uninvited criticism. But no one has ever been good at something before they were bad at it.
We all deserve the chance to struggle while learning. People should explore the activities they may not be naturally skilled at, and society should encourage them to improve instead of demanding irrational perfection.