Newbies vs. N00bs

Everyone was a newbie once.

The coolest, most talented, innovative and put-together people in the world didn’t start that way.  When starting out on a new creative endeavor, the natural tendency is to pick someone’s perfect piece to compare it to.  You want to learn rock carving, so you hammer away at your first slab of rock and then despair because it doesn’t look like Michaelangelo’s David.  Was that the first thing he ever made?  I don’t think so! But no one wants to be a noob.

Maybe it’s the name- noob.  It sounds so insulting, kind of like “boob”.  N00b  is a gamer term meaning novice, neophyte, amateur, but it also has the connotations of bumbling idiot, annoying kid brother and ignorant fool.  We feel like everyone sees us as a noob, that they look down on us with disdain. We need to shake up that perception a bit.  Starting something new is a wondrous and brave thing.  It takes courage, persistance, and a willingness to make mistakes.  The difference between being a newbie and a n00b is your attitude to the learning process.

Is there something you’ve wanted to learn but have been afraid to try?  Start painting, skiing, blogging, playing the piano, writing a book or cooking gourmet today.

Rules for newbies

  1. Be patient.  Very few people can pick something up and be brilliant the first try, it takes time, practice and mistakes.
  2. Find great teachers.  There are books, videos, classes, people and mentors who can help you.  Discover your personal learning style and work with it.
  3. Be humble.  Do not mask your insecurity with arrogance.  It’s ok to be starting out, it’s not ok to try to skip the learning curve and act like you succeeded already.
  4. Make mistakes.  Make a lopsided cake or a sweater with one sleeve longer than the other.  It’s ok!  The next one will be better from what you’ve learned.
  5. Learn from other’s mistakes.  Take the time to find out what not to do- someone has probably learned the hard way.
  6. Share with others.  Don’t hoard your knowledge.  Even if you don’t want to give out the recipe for your secret spice blend, you could still give out cooking tips.
  7. Keep a beginners mind.  There is always something new to learn or do, even if you are a professional with years of experience.
  8. Challenge yourself.  Set goals to reach for, ones just above your current level.  If you’re learning to play piano, pick a song to learn (but don’t make it too hard, either!)

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