Don’t fear being a beginner

by Coach Ryan Knapp on September 5, 2013 · 0 comments

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Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time. – Asha Tyson

No one wants to be a beginner. I hear it from new runners all the time.

I don’t want to be the slowest, I don’t want to be last, I don’t want people looking at me.

But, everyone, at some place and at some time, was a beginner, right? At some point in history, Michael Jordan picked up his first basketball, Muhammed Ali threw his first punch and Albert Einstein thought in depth about his first scientific experiment.

While the above may help to motivate, it does nothing to explain the rationale, it does not address the Why?

Why do we continue to fear being labeled as a beginner?

We live in a consumer culture. The internet places us a few mouse clicks away from the answer to most of our pressing questions. Need to understand how to train form a 5k? Search google, look up the answer, spit it out, and move on. The short-term win (answer) comes from the search, but the long term understanding is what brings us from a beginner to, well, not a beginner.

Our mind is not designed to process and retain information the same way as a computer. We are not wired to ask a question, quickly read an answer and retain that information in our long-term memory. We require rational thinking, processing and understanding of the topic to fully retain and later access that information.

Our world is designed to provide the final answer with the least barrier to entry. Critical thinking, knowledge, and research is replaced with a simple search and a close of the browser.

One fact is certain:

We simply cannot consume expertise.

Expertise is not a product of osmosis. Expertise is achieved through deliberate, intentional practice.

We can read about being a better runner all we want, but it does not help us become a better runner. In order to improve, we need to run, to do, to learn.

I don’t think being a beginner is anything to be ashamed of. Instead of being a beginner, why can’t we be doers? We do instead of consume, we understand instead of making excuses and we immerse ourselves into experiences instead of stands on the sideline and read about it.

Quit consuming and be proud of being a beginner and a doer. The world needs more of you. We need more people like Adrian (in the photo) who ran her first 2.8 mile trail race at five years old.

She is a doer. She isn’t afraid of what others think,  knowing it all, or getting her hands dirty.

Are you?

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