The disillusionment trap

“I’m still in Level 3.” That’s what went through my head as I started my lesson this morning.

If you’re a perfectionist, there’s no greater enemy than yourself. And I’ve been told many times that I tend to be that way. On one hand, it’s great because I tend to push myself more in order to see some improvement.


For things that I think I can excel in, it’s an excellent way to motivate myself. The excitement of stepping out of the familiar and building on skills that I already have is a perfect way to achieve personal growth in almost anything.

Take cooking, for example. I used to not know how to cook and practically survived on instant noodles and bread during the first year of university.

Anyway, I thought “No big deal. I can learn how to cook.” Although it was tricky at first, I quickly improved on my culinary skills because I saw it as something I can tackle. Although I initially lacked the know-how, the task’s difficulty was just enough to keep me going and before long, the improvement was apparent with each dish.

But for things that are a bit more difficult to master, perfectionism doesn’t help. Take skiing for example. I’ve never been an athletic person so skiing is something I considered to be way beyond my realm. Today, for some reason, it felt like I was skiing again for the first time. I couldn’t shift my weight properly, I was leaning back way too much and I couldn’t even stop when I wanted to. I wasn’t living up to my expectations.

Thankfully, our instructor decided that we’d just ski the beginner runs.

Skiing on the green runs was a perfect opportunity for the group to really focus and master the basics of skiing. In addition, our instructor Hank was able to teach us new techniques that would help us build our skiing “toolbox”.

So today, we learned two new things: to traverse properly and slide downhill with our skis in parallel position.

Hank said that when you encounter a steep terrain and you don’t know if you can safely ski down, sliding parallel to the slope is a good skill to have. All you have to do is make sure your skis are parallel to each other and you are positioned parallel to the slope. Then begin to slide putting most of your weight on the downhill ski.

For the traversing exercise, we were asked to pick an object ahead of us and to frame it with our poles while skiing. The goal was to keep the object in the middle of the frame while turning our skis.
The traversing exercise was particularly helpful in improving my turns, and I’m sure a time will come when I would need the sliding skill to get myself down a steep incline.

As an added bonus, we got to watch some hard core skiing action as the Austrian National Ski Team members went for their practice run. Zipping down the run one by one, the skiers sounded like the wind. It was pretty cool.

After the lesson, I thought being a bit behind is not so bad. I just need to keep improving my technique and fingers crossed, I’ll go up to the next level.

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