It might be the most common piece of advice in the history of the world. You hear it whenever you’re learning something new. Just three words:
Take baby steps.
The most common interpretation of this is: Go small. Be safe. Don’t take big risks.
There’s just one problem with this interpretation: it’s wrong.
Because we are not built to learn by avoiding risk, but by embracing it.
Fortunately, babies (like the one above) give us a useful blueprint for doing this:
- Don’t tiptoe meekly — move with enthusiasm toward a target beyond your reach.
- Be a little crazy.
- Be ready for spectacular wipeouts (why it’s a good idea to have people around to support you.)
- Accept fear. If it’s not scary, you’re not doing it right.
Slightly crazed bravery is what baby steps are really all about. That’s why they work, both for babies and for the rest of us.