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How to Prepare for the First Time at Anything

How to Prepare for the First Time at Anything

    The first time for everything is always the most exciting one. Whether it is your first day in a new job or going on a first date, you will always remember those “first” times.

    Not only is there a lot of excitement loaded in those events, but there is also a fear of some sort included. You may be thinking about whether or not you are able to perform well enough, or what the other person (or persons) think of you if you fail.

    Instead of having thoughts like that, what if you turned the first time into a very positive and exciting event?

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    Here are some steps to make you feel better when entering new situations that you feel anxious about, allowing you to prepare better.

    1. Ditch the perfection

    On very rare occasions can you manage to do something perfectly the first time you do it, so when you do something for the first time, it is time to ditch the notion of perfection.

    I remember the first time I drove a car in traffic after getting my driver’s license. I was very nervous and I was overwhelmed by the traffic — my driving style showed that I wasn’t a very confident driver. Now I’m much more experienced as a driver. Although I still don’t consider myself a perfect one, I’m much more confident behind the wheel than what I was when I started.

    In general, it is useless to strive for perfection when you do something for the first time. You are setting the bar too high and you just feel bad when you are not able to meet the level you have set.

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    Also, perfection is just another way to procrastinate, so trying to be perfect is just a waste of time. You want to pursue excellence instead.

    2. Forget what others think

    In order to decrease the stress you feel about your first time, just forget what others are thinking of you.

    First, many people don’t really care that much if you happen to fail at something. If you are open about your inexperience, they are most likely to forgive your inability to perform well.

    Second, remember that others have also started from “zero” as well (driving a car, giving a public speech, going out for a date, etc.).

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    Third, focus on your own performance — not on others. For instance, if you’re going to be running in your first marathon ever your goal is just to pass the finish line, not to run a new world record.

    3. The time you spend doesn’t matter

    One common characteristic of doing something for the first time is that it is most likely to be more time-consuming than subsequent times. If you are inexperienced, the first few times you are just going to be learning anyway — and hopefully getting better in the process.

    Just take your time and try to learn as much as possible as you go. You will realize that the second time is much easier, since you already have some experience in your pocket.

    4. Plan and prepare

    If possible, try to plan and prepare as much as possible before doing something new. This way you will gain more self-confidence, and by planning and preparing you actually may have a bit more control of things.

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    But you don’t always have that sense of control. For instance, if you are going out on a first date, you cannot plan every possible topic to talk about in advance — nor is it reasonable to do that.

    On the other hand, if you are going to take a certification test related to your profession, you can study and prepare so that you can reach a whole different level when you take the exam.

    5. Prepare for the second time

    Once you have gone through your “first time experience”, you’ll have broken the biggest barrier of all. The excitement and fear is most likely gone and the next time won’t be that scary anymore.

    To make the next time even a smoother experience, do these two things during your first time:

    •  Take notes. It never hurts to write things down as you go. These notes can help you to feel more confident and you can go them through when preparing for the second time
    •  Run through a checklist. Create a checklist, so that you can prepare even better for the next time. For example, to prepare yourself to give a presentation, write down a checklist to go through before the actual event. This way you can make sure that all the necessary requirements are met before the presentation begins.

    Conclusion

    You’ll never be fully prepared for the first time at everything, but if you use the tips above the next time you face something new you’ll have a much better chance to enjoy the experience. And then you’ll want to do it again.

    Photo credit: Young Man Holding a Clock via Shutterstock)

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    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

    Can I Be Creative?

    The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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    How Creativity Works

    Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

    What Really Is Creativity?

    Creativity Needs an Intention

    Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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    Creativity Is a Skill

    At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

    Start Connecting the Dots

    Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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