I am pretty sure I have written a version of this post before but whatever.
Learning a new skill is hard. It doesn’t really matter what it is it is difficult. Learning a skill similar to another skill you already have is much easier. It is like a synergy bonus to all skill checks. This is why people tend to specialize on a group of skills. Once you learn one computer language understanding another is easier and your learning is faster. Truly the best example of this is Juggling.
When you first attempt juggling you do that two ball pass one between your hands business. This is legitimate juggling… kind of. Juggling is the art of keeping multiple things in the air at once. There is probably a better definition but this is what I tell myself I am doing when I juggle. Learning to juggle involves getting three similar objects and practicing first tossing one between you hands in an arc, then two, then three and so on from there.
Once you have mastered balls you are ready for other things. Clubs, knives, torches, plungers, chainsaws; the list goes on and on. But the basic idea is the same. Keeping multiple things in the air at once. As you progress from balls to club like objects you are adding a single thing to juggling. Which is the flip. The flip isn’t hard but if you tried to master it while learning to juggle you would fail.
Juggling doesn’t just cover balls, clubs and rings. It also covers cigar boxes, diabolos, shaker cups and many other skill toys. It is when you start learning these things that you realize that while you have a better understanding of gravity then a non juggler when it comes to these skills you don’t have a frame of reference for how these individual props will behave once they leave your control.
I have started working on learning hat tricks recently. This is flipping a hat to my head from my foot, back catches, body rolls and the like. What this really means is I spend a large amount of time throwing a really nice juggling hat at my face. Like hours at a time. It is probably hilarious to watch. Of course I am getting more comfortable doing it as I do it more but that just makes me cocky. I start trying to do double flips and BAM hat to face. Flipping a hat onto your head isn’t that hard. It is basically flipping the hat end over end once and making sure your head is under it so it lands nice. The problem is that getting the right amount of rotation is hard. I drop so much.
But when you drop what do you have to do? Pick it back up and try again. And again. It is the same with any skill. You start off throwing something at our face and eventually you have a skill that people want to pay you to do or that you at least enjoy doing. Keep this in mind when you are trying to teach yourself something. That if you drop you are trying. The juggler that doesn’t drop isn’t trying new things.