It feels stupid when we are learning a new task. That may be because - insofar as that task is concerned - we actually are stupid, or maybe clumsy is a better word. Either way the feeling of being stupid is real, and it puts off a lot of people from doing new things - like learning to cook!
If we could bring ourselves to accept that this is just the way it is...and it happens to everyone who tries to learn new things...then we can let ourselves off the hook. The hook of perfection.
I can prep and cook maybe 5 or 6 main meals pretty well, but up till a few years ago, despite having a masters degree in nutrition, I wasn't much good and coming up with meal suggestions, and so I made it my business to get some bit proficient.
Man did I feel like a noob for a while - awkward, clumsy, and clueless, but it passed and now I'm pretty decent.
Baking is a different beast though - My 12 year old son has already surpassed my skills as a home baker.
I think it's because his fear of failure is nearly Zero, but he also learns from his mistakes and has fun doing it all, not to mention eating the produce and getting the dopamine hits from all the praise!
There's something to learn in that.
Most of us were brought up by parents who themselves were brought up in tough times.
There is a theme running through much of us Generation X'ers that seems to go as follows:
Our parents (the Baby Boomers) were raised by parents who went through the war and were thus hyper cautious in general.
They passed that caution onto their kids, our parents, who thus became conditioned to be risk-averse, and who in turn raised us (Gen X'ers) in a mixed atmosphere of critical watchfulness and hopeful expectation.
But their conditioning was more focused on helping us keep our heads down, work hard and not make mistakes - rather than on encouraging us to take risks. This kind of early life programming embeds deeply into us.
What we know for sure now is that learning is necessary for problem solving, and problem solving is not only part of life, it's absolutely critical to having a meaningful life.
To learn anything important we must make mistakes, but this wisdom has yet to permeate through to parenting, and dare I say to schooling.
We know that an over the top emphasis on safety risks suffocating our children in boredom, yet it's so hard to resist the temptation to hold onto our kids in case they get badly hurt.
If our kids are ever to find meaning they must solve big problems in their lives. If we are to teach our kids this we must have solved big problems in our lives too so we can pass on the wisdom.
If your problem is life right now is that you can't have kids because of infertility, then you hold in your hands a sacred opportunity.
If you have to courage to feel clumsy and stupid as you flail around making mistakes whilst learning new things about yourself, not only can you solve the problem, but the children you create will inherit the wisdom you acquired along the way, and there is no better gift to give.
Go and learn how to cook something new!