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Thursday
Feb182010

The thing the best wasn't willing to do

A while  ago I went on a bike ride with one of the best triathletes of all time. I love any opportunity to talk to someone who has been the best in their field. On our ride,  I became a Paul Homes type “interviewer” and started firing away a million questions about anything I could think of, I asked him about his hardest race, his toughest competitor and so on. After a while he must have got sick of my questions as he  started asking me about my life. I mentioned that I played guitar to which he responded, ‘I wish I could play the guitar, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do’. I suggested that he should buy one and get some lessons but he wasn’t so keen ‘I’m too old to pick that up now’.  

For some people, the older they get the less willing they are to learn new skills. It’s like they get a set of skills in the early years of their life and these skills will determine their path for the rest of it. The triathlete I was talking to was in his mid forties and he thought he was too old to start a new skill, a skill that he admitted he would love to do. Sure, there would be a period during the first couple years of practice where he wouldn’t be that great but after a few years he would find that he’d be able to start playing with others and creating his own music. At this stage he’d be closer to 50 and still have many years of playing music in front of him.  

So why do some of us reject learning new skills as we get older? Maybe it’s because we don’t want to be bad at something or maybe it’s because life is safe when we do what we know we are good at. To be honest I don’t have the definitive answer to this question but I do know that if we add new skills to our life in areas that we are interested in we have a richer life experience.  

When thinking about exercise don’t always look to what you have done in the past. A new sport that requires you to learn new skills could be the catalyst you need to recharge your love for exercise. Who knows where this new path could take you?

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