We were a hockey family growing up, so I never learned to ski—until this year. I started with a beginner lesson in December (where I—along with five mothers from the Midwest—pretended to downhill ski on completely flat ground), and I’ve been skiing nearly every weekend since on slopes of increasing slope. And here’s the thing: I’ve made so much progress! Learning to ski has reminded me how much I love being a beginner at something.
When you start from zero, the ego is detached from the outcome, and the rate of progress is often exponential. Somehow the physics of learning were designed so that the pace of learning slows over time while the ego’s attachment to outcome increases over time: beginners are explorers of new, unclaimed terrain; experts are protectors of existing, claimed terrain.