Dear New Guy At The Climbing Gym:

Dear New Guy At The Climbing Gym, or lady running around the track at the park for the first time, or person trying out hiking, mountain biking, or skiing, or lifting weights, or whatever for the first time:

Good for you. Yes, good for you for just trying something new. Maybe you’re wondering if you’re doing it right, or if you have the right clothes, or technique, or if you don’t exactly blend in. All of that stuff is OK.

Sure, maybe a few of the people you see doing the same thing look more comfortable doing it, or you think they’re way better than you’ll ever be. Well, they probably are more comfortable. But when they look around the gym, or the trail, or the mountain, they see someone who they think is way better than they’ll ever be. And if they’re the best climber or skier or runner in the immediate vicinity, they are no doubt aware that someone else out there is better than they are. Everyone’s trying to get better at whatever it is they’re doing, no matter how long they’ve been doing it.

We’re all beginners once, and only once. The nice thing about starting out—versus already having done this for years—is that you’re going to get better in bigger leaps, way faster. You’ll get stronger, more confident, lose more weight, or whatever it is you’re trying to do, at a much faster pace at the beginning. Don’t forget that, because it won’t always be that way. Your progress will become more incremental, and sometimes feel invisible, the longer you do it. So enjoy being new at this.

Do you feel like people are looking at you, maybe judging you because you’re not doing it right, or you look like a newbie? They’re probably not. And if they are, they’re doing it to deal with their own insecurities, which is of course not exactly the adult thing to do here.

So just keep trying, don’t be afraid to ask for some help or advice, and you won’t regret it. It’s way better to try something new and worry that you suck at it than to never try because you’re worried you might suck at it. Closing yourself off to new things you might be scared to try eliminates the chance to be brave, whether you’re scared of heights, scared of crashing in the middle of a ski run, or just scared to look bad in front of other people a few time as you learn.

Not everyone will ever be “the best,” but everybody can try hard. See you out there somewhere.

A Guy Who’s Slightly Less New At This Thing And Just Wants Everyone To Have A Good Time

More stories like this in my new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems, out now.


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