Be brave enough to suck at something new! — R Voice

Be brave enough to suck at something new!

Shruti Turner
Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

I can not claim the catchy title for myself, but as I saw it on Twitter I thought I must share it!

Is there anything new that you've been wanting to try for a while but haven't? I know that I am so attached to the idea of being "good" or even "perfect" at what I do, that it can stop me from trying something new, or even trying what I know I want but think might be too difficult.

For me, the trying something new is going after what I really want rather than sticking to what feels "safer" or more comfortable. To do this, that means networking with people I haven't met because they are the people who might be able to help me pursue the research that I really care about, in a location that I want to me. The alternative is to stay along the path that I am on, which I have shown an aptitude for and have more chance of excelling at either in or out of academia.

How about you - is there something that you've been wanting to just go for but haven't yet (either in life or research)? With some community spirit and hopefully some tips, I'm hoping we can all take those steps out of our comfort zone to achieve those great things we want!


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  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shruti Turner

    With some community spirit and hopefully some tips, I'm hoping we can all take those steps out of our comfort zone to achieve those great things we want!

    You reminded me of Barbara Sher's TED talk...https://www.tedxprague.cz/en/videa/isolation-is-the-dream-killer-not-your-attitude-barbara-sher😂

    "Isolation is the dream-killer, not your rotten attitude." - So true!

    Coming back to your question....I think it is important to regularly push ourselves to try things we want to but are afraid of - even if we suck at it. But balance is key in effort/emotional investment. Simultaneously, its important to maintain skill/expertise at things we are talented in or is good at and keep the "safe" option always open. Lets call it taking calculated risks.

    Things I want to try....

    -> want to try a sport that involves aiming (shooting/archery or something like tennis/snooker/billiards).Never tried it but I have a feeling I might suck at it. 😊

    -> want to learn ballroom dancing or salsa. Have two left feet and phenomenally suck at dancing. I used to go to a square dance club. Square dancing was easy and fun - pretty logical. The instructions had English words (at a point when I knew very little Japanese). But...the club also had this component of ballroom dancing which was dreadful for me. More dreadful for the male partners who had to risk (1) being stepped on (2) putting the extra effort to drag me, push me or sometimes lift me into position (I weighed a bit more than I do now...🤣). It didnt help that all instructions - pretty complex ones - were all in Japanese. Also, at that point I had issues with humans getting too close, even though I kind of got a bit better with technique. At the end, was totally discouraged and left. Want to give it a go again. 😊

    -> Another thing I might suck at is martial arts (which is kind of similar to dancing in my mind). I know basic moves for self-defense...like kneeing/simple chokes. 😂

    But not proper stuff. Want to give Jujitsu or Taekwondo a go.😊

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    Lol @Shruti Turner I feel personally attacked by this post (kidding kidding 😅)

    Before I list some of the things I've always wanted to try by ending up shelving, I want to comment on something @Raj sundaram said. Tried my hand at archery once. My friends thought it would be a very fun activity, but I was all set with my long braided hair to be the next Katniss Everdeen and win the Hunger Games 🤣 After this first try, it's safe to say that I should never be allowed around weapons because although my brain knows who's on my team, my arms and aim don't seem to co-operate lol. Thankfully, no one was hurt and everyone got a good laugh at my expense. So it was a good day overall 😅

    Things I'd like to try that I haven't been able to (for a variety of reasons) --

    • I've always wanted to pursue my passion for singing in some way. I'm not half bad and it makes me so happy! But as you can see, the fact that I've described by plans as "in some way" shows that I haven't dedicated a lot of time and thought to this #regret
    • Also wanted to work on a personal project that allows me to talk to people and curate stories. I know for a fact that this would make me very happy. Just being able to connect with folks and give them a space where they can speak their truth. I even had a couple of ideas on how I would do this but it always seemed like a project that required more time than I could invest
    • This one is quite embarrassing but I really need to get around to learning how to swim.
  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    Apologies for the delay in my response, @Raj sundaram. I hope that this response will make up for it!

    Ooh, now that is a Ted Talk that I haven't seen before - thank you for sharing. I definitely agree with that quote in particular - I think we evidence that every day on this platform!

    I totally agree with you about balance, there is an element of maintaining the skills we have, both for keeping those skills alive in us but also for the psychological benefit. It feels good to be good at some things!

    I admire the things that you want to try, particularly the things that you know you've attempted before and want to try again. It can be so easy to feel like we want to stay away from things once we've tried them once and never got over the hurdle of "sucking". I'd love to hear how your journey goes with each of your goals!

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    Haha - @Andrea Hayward - this is how I felt too when I saw it! It reminds me of a quote I saw when I was younger that has stuck with me, that I think is similar but more about emotion than doing: "Have the strength to be vulnerable".

    I love this anecdote from your archery experience! It's amazing how the body and mind just don't match up at times. This is why I don't do sports that require me to control anything other than myself - though weirdly, I have always been okay at archery compared to other sports where I'm wielding other objects!

    I really admire your want to pursue things that will make you happy. I guess it ties into the other thread about self-care. I am here cheering you on to go for the things that will make you happy and develop skills you want.

    Thank you for sharing with us about swimming - I don't think it is something anyone should be embarrassed about personally. We are all on our own journeys with many different skills we develop at different points and for different reasons. I think it's admirable that you want to go for it! I am happy to share with you an anecdote about swimming...

    Some 25 years ago when I was a "well behaved and compliant" child, I was on holiday with my family and I decided that I didn't want to wear my armbands anymore (I couldn't tell you why) and then I jumped into the deep end of the pool. My parents were on the side reading or whatever and some stranger asks them if it's their child flailing in the pool. They panicked and my sister (only 2 years older than me) jumped in to save me, having been put through swimming lessons at school. This was the trigger for my parents to decide to learn to swim and to make sure I had swimming lessons too.

    I share this for a little bit of a laugh, but also because I think it's important to acknowledge for ourselves that we have many skills that others don't have, for whatever personal or circumstantial reason. It can be difficult to feel we are not accomplished when we feel there are things we can't do that many others can/that we feel we should. I just hope that we can help each other to challenge those feelings!

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    @Shruti Turner thank you for being so supportive towards both - my pursuit of skills and things that will make me happy and also my admitting certain shortcomings that I've received a ton of grief for in the past. It's really odd to be a 20-something at a pool party who cannot swim. And it draws a lot of unwanted, mostly negative attention (sigh)

    I really appreciate you sharing such a personal anecdote around swimming. Glad your brave sister was around to dive in (pun intended) at the right time. You've given me a lot to think about, so thank you! 🤗

    What about you? Is there something you've been wanting to try or try again that's been getting shelved for some reason?

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    Ah...swimming...nice one and an essential skill, @Andrea Hayward as we learn from @Shruti Turner 's experience.

    While I am good at pool, lake, river swimming - phenomenally suck at seas! 😂 So, one more on my list - want to learn swimming in the sea and surfing...and diving...

    Completely agree, singing definitely brings a lot of joy and puts in touch with ourselves, @Andrea Hayward . I am a trained singer and sing often for myself - but I play no instrument....want to learn to play an instrument, a stringed instrument. One more in the list.

    @Andrea Hayward - You can count me in as an avid fan of your future blog/book of Stories of people from around the world!

    @Shruti Turner - besides stepping out of your comfort zone career-wise (especially focusing on networking) - anything new you want to try?

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    Here for you anytime, @Andrea Hayward!

    Hmm, well I tried to give my "new" thing I was trying in my original post, but having read your and Raj's responses, I appreciate mine is a little half-baked!

    I'm not sure really what it is I want to try for me personally. I'm actually finding that a really difficult thing at the moment - I will try to keep this concise (and will likely fail). I have been experiencing joint problems for over 10 years now, which caused a career change and a big change as I had always loved being active/doing sports. After some time I found a sport/hobby that worked for my body, which I totally sucked at for a long time, which allowed me to build my confidence as well as allowing me to build physical strength within my limits!

    In the past year or so my joint condition has deteriorated and I threw myself into my PhD, as what else was there to do in lockdown? I now find myself in a situation where I'm not actually sure what hobbies I want to do that I am physically able to do.

    As I read what I've written, it sounds like I've thrown myself a massive pity party which is not the aim! I think maybe I'm just making excuses for why I don't have anything non-work related on my list for a thread that I started. I think secretly I was hoping to take inspiration from others and see what I could try - looks like you caught me! 😂

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    @Raj sundaram surfing is the single most terrifying yet jaw-droppingly cool thing! I admire you for even considering putting it on your list! 😅

    Interesting that you brought up learning an instrument. I tried my hand at guitar-playing about 6, maybe 7 years ago and failed miserably. Now my guitar catches dust like a pencil that accidentally fell behind a heavy couch lol. I'm not sure if I'll ever get back to playing it. I feel like I failed because I was more focused on the outcome rather than the process. I guess you cannot aspire to the great likes of Slash and Carlos Santana when you're too lazy to practice basic chords 😆

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    Oh gosh @Shruti Turner. Sorry, I was so excited to comment on this post that I completely forgot you'd mentioned what "trying something new" looks like for you in the original post. I think going after you want even if it's not the safe or comfortable choice is very inspiring! I'm sure this goes a long way to help you explore exciting opportunities in various aspects of life. Not everyone is brave enough to go after what they want, so you should feel proud 😃

    Also, please don't worry because your last comment doesn't seem like a pity-party at all. I'm sure a whole lot of people have fallen out of touch with their hobbies or just didn't feel up to doing them anymore during the last year. We all did go through an extremely stressful global crisis, and even the most motivated people can fall out of their routines when surrounded by so much gloom and doom. I think you're being too hard on yourself. It's also perfectly fine for you to not be able to think of non-work hobbies. Doing a PhD and writing a thesis is really all consuming and you did it while dealing with a life-altering year. Besides, we're not going anywhere. Whenever you're ready to add some things onto your list, we'll be hear to listen and cheer you on! 🤗

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    😂

    Surfing... because had to watch from th beach someone close to me surf in exhilaration. Also, despite being pretty good in all other water bodies, almost drowned in one of the beaches here in Japan where professional surfing competitions are conducted. Came to know how much I actually suck at sea swimming, what'll happen if I get stranded on a beach, fall into the sea by accident. 😂 So...realized that's really an essential skill.

    I guess, it's hard to make time for things we want to do amidst earning a living and all other things needed of us in everyday life. So...it's ok. But...let's keep our aims high. Mine is to become the next Eric Clapton with the guitar. 😂

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shruti Turner ...I second @Andrea Hayward.

    It's not a pity party to be open about vulnerabilities. Sorry to hear about your health condition. Hope things turn to your favour soon.

    Meanwhile...it's ok to not know what you want. Acknowledging this is a very important step. Most people don't even realize this...that they don't know what they actually want. And act out....destroying themselves, people around them, and the planet. Worst are those who don't know what they want or want things for wrong purposes but have the power....like politicians.😂

    Acknowledging, finding what you want, finding what you want in the context of meaning for oneself and the world...and working this out amidst individual life circumstances...merits and limitations is what life is all about. And the way to not live a life on a conveyor belt.😅

    Sending you loads of good vibes.

    And mentally taking you and all bicycling with me on the 150 km course around awaji island. 🥰

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you so much @Andrea Hayward and @Raj sundaram for your support and motivation. I can't tell you how much it means to me. Between hitting the "post comment" button and your responses I thought many times about deleting what I had said and I am glad now that I haven't.

    You're right, Andrea - I am probably being too hard on myself. I try hard to think about these things like I'm talking to a friend and not myself, but I'm not always good at that. I appreciate having you here telling me how it is and nudging me in the right direction! I am hoping to re-adjust my mindset out of the all-consuming world of thesis/PhD and start to think about what I can be outside of that. I'm starting with setting my boundaries and taking the weekend away from work (Happy Friday, by the way!)

    Without a doubt, Raj, you make some very good points about acknowledging our own limitations about what we want. I agree that life is a journey about appreciating the now and what we can work out in the context, rather than just putting one step in front of the other without much thought for our own desires.

    Thank you for your good vibes, I think our trip around awaji island is exactly what I need, Raj. Thank you for allowing me to join you on your adventures - I hope we have a safe trip (Incidentally...please let me live through your photos!!)

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    @Shruti Turner always here to cheer you on, remind you of how great you really are in the times that you forget, and be a friendly face and voice whenever you could use one in your corner. Glad to hear you're taking the weekend away from work! Hope it's both fun and relaxing. Happy Friday 🤗

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    @Raj sundaram I really miss cycling so our trip around Awaji Island couldn't have come at a better time 😄 I agree with @Shruti Turner - we need pictures of this trip!

    Also please be safe! I'm genuinely worried after your comments on almost drowning. Hope this trip is exciting but in a non-dangerous way 🙈

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 25

    @Shruti Turner and @Andrea Hayward ....I finished the 150 km curse safely yesterday. It took me a day and a half...with an overnight stay, which was an adventure in itself that showed me how Japan is crazy in counterintuitive - in both good and not good ways. But thanks to a really old vaccinated ojii-chan, obaa-chan (grandpa and grandma), their shiba-inu and my really kind minshuku (guesthouse) owner, survived the overnight stay the day before.

    By far...the toughest course I have done. I'm an amateur, not fast..but as most women are tenacious.

    (Its one of the reasons why women outdo or are at par or have a smaller gap with men in long distance sports. Also because...like most reasonable women, I never think..."how hard can this be."... instead see the reality, prepare and act accordingly.😂)

    Coming back to the course...god damnit! As an amateur, I've done stuff like shimanami kaido (it's tough....island hopping bicycling over bridges with pretty steep elevation....covering 100 km in a day and also biwa lake...200 km). But damn....this was harder. Far harder.

    It's summer. The island is between Hyogo and Tokushima prefectures....infamous for the heat. The temperatures are over 30 deg c until 18:00. And humidities....quite high. Day 1 I did 80-85 km. Was sweating like a pig....that was expected. Until half way point it all seemed regular. And then....the slopes started happening. I already looked up the elevations (about 200 m), etc. But that did not prepare me for what was to come. Because as I learnt later...awaji course is not famous, not much actual info available. And Google maps is goddamn wrong. All apps that depend on the Google data are wrong. Its the craziest slopes I've ever seen!!! It was uphill for 2-3 km consistently...but oddly the course "looks" flat to the eye. Huge mismatch between what eyes are seeing, the work my muscles needed to do...and it was beyond the half point when one is already running on low energy. And then, steep downhill...youve got to be careful, because it's the highway, sharing lanes with cars and trucks (unlike some other very biker friendly courses I've done...) with the road full of curves. An occasional deer or monkey or some kind of cat...crossing the roads suddenly. And then repeat....uphill again.

    Basically it was 30 km of torture, on mountainous terrain on a cross bike I rented with a heavy backpack. At one point...I was yelling rather swearing... pathetically at the sun to stop shining. 😂 Realized how irrational the brain can get. Well....at 1700, the sun was shining directly into my eyes...more than what my sunglasses could handle.

    Compared to that day 2 was a breeze..65-70 km. Ironically I fell down right in front of my rental bicycle shop just before returning the bike....nothing serious. Had to brake suddenly because someone jumped the signal. But all in one piece. However...the nature was beautiful. So....even though I was swearing, i did have the sea breeze ocassionally soothing. The views were stunning. It was worth it!!!

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 25

    I'm not good at photography. But attached are some pics. Enjoy!😍🤗

    Usually, I just cycle, and don't make a effort for photos. But this time, I made some effort because you girls asked for photos😅.

    As a bonus, I went to see the Naruto whirlpools today. Attached. Dope stuff!! The photos don't do justice to the real stuff. Wish I was a better photographer.


    Thank you for cheering me on. Hope we'll have an opportunity to travel together one day. 🙏🎉🤗🥰

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    Awesome @Andrea Hayward . That's the kind of communities we need. The kind that look out for each other, make an effort...to support each other.

    Just one more point from me, @Shruti Turner ...you mentioned "people like me" in another post. The campaign concept is really amazing. I feel...the starting point of "people like me" is to share vulnerability...and find commonness in that vulnerability that stirs empathy and also a measured sense of confidence, while looking up to a role model. So... whenever you feel comfortable, please share here...and we are here to listen, respond, support and cheer each other on. So that you and we all can become examples for those like us who are to come. 🙂

    Ps. There's a specific reason why I go solo cycling or hiking or travelling (except when the person who knows me and my specific situation very very well is around, its really difficult for me to travel...especially adventure travel with anyone else. Hopefully things will get better.) 🙂That story is for another day. May be when we meet or have a zoom party. 😉

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram - don't play down your amateur status! The women who one gold at a cycling event in the past few days was an amateur (incidentally, with a PhD...I'm sure no coincidences there!)

    It sounds like a really intense ride, but such an achievement - congratulations on making it through (and even more so for doing it safely!!)

    Thank you for taking the time for photos - I love how different the sea is in your photos, I feel like I was there with you (except I'm relaxed and it's chilly in London right now...) You've really brightened up my Monday morning :)

    I'm so grateful for your encouraging words, I totally know what you mean about the bonds of common vulnerability <3

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin
    edited July 26

    @Raj sundaram just read the comment of your cycling trip and I've never wanted an "OMG" or a "What even?" button more on R Voice 😂😅 I'm going to be careful to not invite myself on your cycling trips again because I know I'd never make it. Amateur or not, what you achieved...ridiculously difficult terrain, burning muscles, HEAT..is amazing! Trust me, it makes my cycling trips look like pony rides lol. Now don't get me wrong, being the workout buff that I am, I'm all for going hard over the weekend and then saying things like "Wow! This burn is incredible" while feeling like death 😆 but still, I'm taking off my hat and a few other people's hats to you for this one! And I'm very glad that you endured all of this safely.

    Despite all of that, the view seems worth it all! Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures! 😍

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