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5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Trying Out Something New

Trying out new things can be intimidating. Remember when you first learned how to ride a bike when you were little? It took a few falls before you were able to take the training wheels off and ride freely. Karen Rinaldi, author of IT’S GREAT TO SUCK AT SOMETHING, gives you 5 questions to ask yourself when trying out something new. 

My past is full of trial and error and failure. I have been down for the count while boxing. I flushed a tampon out of my body while waterskiing when my legs, instead of holding parallel, spread-eagled through the water, causing the cotton plug to lodge inside my one-piece bathing suit. I’ve barreled down snowy mountains without knowing how to stop and have had close calls while rollerblading and cycling and skateboarding. In spite of the bruises and awkward moments, I regret none of these efforts. And, while none compelled me to continue while sucking, I think some conditioning took hold for when I stumbled onto the real thing.

Most important, I didn’t need to commit to each and every thing that I ventured into. You don’t either. Pressuring yourself for commitment is just another obligation that moves you further from the freedom that sucking can bring. The point is to start something new with an open heart. Commitment will come or it won’t. The beauty of it is that when you let curiosity lead you to an undiscovered passion, you’ll find relief from having to excel and a welcoming community you didn’t know existed. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  1. What did you want to do when you were a child but were too afraid to try or didn’t try because someone told you—“oh, you’d never be good at that . . .”?
  2. What is it you see some people doing and think, “If only I could do that!”?
  3. What terrifies you? Does conquering that fear compel you?
  4. Answer this question: If I could leave my job right now, where would I go and what would I do? (I’m not prompting you to irresponsibility; rather, suspending obligation for a moment might free your mind to wander into unchartered territory.)
  5. When you are scanning the magazine rack at the airport or bus depot, which do you secretly want to buy and read, but don’t feel that you should because you don’t really do that stuff?

A few words of caution: Keep it from becoming transactional. If you are going to start throwing pottery or knitting macramé, don’t get caught up in the investing in that cute little storefront to sell it. If you want to write poetry, forget—at least for now—getting published. If you want to sing, don’t start auditioning just yet. If you love Scrabble, the national championship is not where you set your sights, but rather concentrate on making pointy words when playing against your not-so-clever aunt or know-it-all nephew. One thing is abso-fucking-lutely true: you will never be the best at any of these things, so best to get over it now. Let me help.

Learn more about trying new things in IT’S GREAT TO SUCK AT SOMETHING by Karen Rinaldi!


Tips on Life & Love: A New Way To Look At Forgiveness


Excerpted from It’s Great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi. Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


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