One reason that it can be easier to stay with what you know is because learning something new can be daunting. The fear is valid. Learning something new is sometimes overwhelming.
When I started my job at the Alaska Attorney General’s office, I had to learn a fairly complex eligibility system for some healthcare benefits offered by the State. I spent a week training with someone who had been handling the cases that I would now be taking on. Her capacity to explain to me was far greater than my capacity to focus on comprehending what she was telling me. At some point each day my eyes glazed over and I couldn’t take in more information before digesting some of what I was already trying to learn. At times I questioned if I was too dumb to ever learn. With time, the foreign language became known; what initially took a day may have been condensed to just an hour or two as I learned what to look for in my cases.
I recently heard someone talk about attending a conference in a new area of law as analogous to drinking out of a fire hose with a shot glass. As the concepts are new, we might understand only a very small portion of what’s being said. With time, we comprehend more and more.
Persevering through the part when you don’t understand takes courage. In Seth Godin’s words from a recent post:
It’s worth remembering that if someone knows how to do something, that means, with sufficient effort, you could probably learn it too.
You might not be willing to put in the time and effort, but it’s learnable.~ Seth Godin
Is there something that is worth putting in the effort to learn that you may be hesitating on? Is it time for you to put in that effort to get past the point when it feels like drinking from a fire hose using a shot glass?