"You wanna build your IQ higher in the next two years? Be uncomfortable. That means, learn something where you have a beginner's mind."
Begin at the beginning. Seems obvious, right? But so often we want to skip a step, a beat, a task or cut corners to get to our goals.
We try the fad diet that promises fast results. We buy the "seen on TV" tricks that make anything super easy. We start an exercise plan too quickly or in a way that leaves us frustrated or injured. We live in a society of fast information and quick fixes to any problem.
So when was the last time you began as a beginner? Really took your time and learned a new approach to something? When have you slowly built a foundation for a lifestyle change or activity that would grow in a healthy and sustainable way?
A few years ago I was discussing teaching some beginner riding lessons (not at the place I ride) as it was something I had done in the past. Concerned that the pay was too low I was told that they only needed someone with half of a brain to say "up down" (posting rhythm) to beginners. That ended the conversation.
The foundation for any sport, especially one involving a large animal with ideas of it's own, is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of any new endeavor. There is so much that goes into a beginner anything. In photography, you have to really understand all of the complexities of the camera. With weight lifting, you must make sure your form is correct and your progression is at the right pace to prevent injury. Learning to play an instrument involves reading music and knowing how to make something pleasant out of sound. It would be like taking a handgun class where the most important concept was pulling the trigger.
We are never too old to begin again. But go into it holding as much knowledge as you can. Research, ask questions, and keep your mind open to learning something new and create that good foundation. Whether it's a new diet, exercise, hobby, relationship (yes-online dating or blind dates), career, whatever, go into it with all of the information you can gather and do it in a solid, safe way.
Even with decades of experience I get on any new horse the first time with the mentality of a beginner. I need to learn about him or her slowly or else there may be a surprise I'm not prepared for. I don't bounce like I used to and if I build an understanding of that animal it makes for a greater chance of success.
Build a strong foundation in all areas of your life so that nothing fully crumbles. There will be cracks now and then, after all, each one of us, every day, is dealing with other creatures with ideas and minds of their own. That's life. That's why we have patches.
"You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you."