One of my second quarter resolutions for 2010 is to go rock climbing. Since I have never been rock climbing, I signed up for lessons and took my first course on Sunday.
Up until my class began, I was under the impression that I would do a lot of climbing as part of my rock climbing class. I did make it up a small wall during the class, so there was some climbing. However, the majority of the class was dedicated to equipment, safety measures, and knot tying. In all honesty, the class should have been called Knot Tying 101.
I was initially put off by the knot tying instruction. I went to rock climbing class wanting to rock climb. The next day, though, when my arms and fingers were sore just from going up the wall once, I quickly changed my opinion.
It’s hard to learn a new skill as an adult. We have to trust someone else to show us the way. We have to train our minds and our bodies to behave in new ways. We have to practice. We have to not be good at something before we can get better. And, we can’t dive right in and do it exactly the way we have imagined it.
Knot tying is vital in rock climbing. Improperly tied knots can mean the difference between a safe climb and serious, life-threatening injuries. Thankfully, most new skills that we acquire in our daily lives don’t start with life or death skills training. It won’t kill you if you fail to follow the instructions for how to use a new time tracking software program at work, but you may lose out on wages or waste time redoing your time sheets later. Learning the basics helps you to be more productive over the long term, and an initial investment in these fundamental skills can have huge rewards.
If you need to go back and learn some basic skills to pump up your productivity (per the discussion in today’s first post), I recommend that you do it. Take the chance. Trust someone else to show you the way, and cut yourself some slack if you’re not great in the beginning. Once you master the new skill, you’ll save yourself significant amounts of time.