Do you remember the first time you tried something new? How it may have seemed scary, hard or even confusing? Then do you remember trying it again and thinking, hey this is not so bad after all?
I caught up for dinner with some of my friends the other day and for some reason the topic of eating alone came up and half of us at the table agreed that we would never ever sit and dine at a restaurant alone. I believe a particular friend kept stating that it was such a Nigel No Friends thing to do. I agreed. Not because I think eating alone makes you a Nigel but for me it was more about awkwardness and not being to share the experience with anyone that makes it lonely and boring for me.
My other friends just shrugged and said they had no problem dining alone or doing other activities alone. But for some reason everyone drew the line at watching a movie alone. Suddenly those that would happily dine alone in broad daylight had problems with sitting in a dark movie theater by themselves! Go figure.
Since I have been travelling a lot more than usual this year, I’ve had to come to terms with doing a lot of things alone. To be honest it is pretty boring sitting on the plane and not being able to really talk to the person next to you (without creeping them out), or to see the sights with no one other than yourself. Usually if I am honest, I just hole myself up in the hotel room and work on answering my emails or reading while happily eating my take away because I just can’t be motivated doing anything else when I’m alone. Most nights I am pretty exhausted after a long day of teaching and just want to go to bed. Yes, my life is extremely exciting.
So today, in London, on a rare day off between my classes I decided to try out this new experience of dining alone. It was strange at first having no one to discuss the menu with not to mention the awkwardness at the door, ‘table for 1 please’… but I got through it alive and actually enjoyed the brief quietness of not having to make conversation. And it’s not so bad because I can now share this experience with all of you. Look what I had for lunch…
I guess this is what I always try to stress to my students. Go easy on yourself, things may look hard and it may not be perfect the first time around, but nothing ever is. That’s why you come to class to learn and go home to practise. Remember the first time you started driving? And how it’s now is like second nature? Or remember the first time you had to cover a cake in fondant? How it took you ages and perhaps even multiple tries? Compared to now, when you can do it without stressing!
Trying something multiple times allows you to improve which in turn gives you confidence, and confidence then replaces the fear. Before you know it, you will find yourself shrugging at it like it is no big deal.
And guess what? This Sunday I’m actually going to take this whole alone thing to the next level by attending a concert by myself. Who knows, maybe the next time this topic comes up at the dinner table, I’ll be the one shrugging and saying I don’t have a problem with watching movies in the cinema alone 🙂
So what about you? Have you ever doing something in the past but can do effortlessly now?