How to learn a new skill…post 40! | Lisa Steingold

How to Learn a New Skill…Post 40!

How to learn a new skill.,,post 40!
The truth is you can learn a new skill at any time. When you're 3, or 20, post 40 or even post 80! The rules stay the same.

The truth is you can learn a new skill at any time. When you’re 3, or 20, post 40 or even post 80!

The rules stay the same.

The 2 hardest and best things I learned post 40


The 2 hardest things I learnt post-40 (apart from patience and resilience) is learning to ride a motorbike and learning to Speak Spanish.

I’ve learned a lot in my life and most of it through trial and error. I don’t love academic study so I prefer to learn by doing. 

So I learnt to speak Spanish when I moved to Spain and I learnt to motorbike when I bought my motorbike. 

I’d gotten my license way back in 2017 and never set foot, or butt, on a motorbike again. Until 2023 when I decided it was time to live my dream and get a bike. So I signed up for a day course.

The course was exhausting but great! We rode different bikes and did different drills to make sure we had the basic skills to get out on the road. 

Motorbike lessons for women post 40

So when I rocked up to pick I bike, I was feeling super confident. The bike didn’t have insurance so I had to ride it around the yard. I wheeled and dealed that baby and signed the deal right there and then. 

What no one tells you about learning new things

The first day I got my motorbike, I fell. Twice!

I hate to suck at things and that day I sucked so bad I nearly gave up riding before I even got started. 

The first time I had barely driven out the dealership. As I pulled out into the road I pushed the emergency stop by mistake. The bike stopped and I got a fright. The bike fell over in the middle of the road and suddenly loads of people were running towards me to help. 

Including the sales guy. 


Then I recovered and my friend who had come with me suggested we stop for a coffee on the way home. The coffee was great but I put too much gas as I pulled off. The bike went in one direction and I went in the other. 

So what don’t they tell you about learning a new skill?

You’re probably going to feel afraid at times. It’s ok. Keep going.

What they also don’t tell you is that it’s going to suck at times! You’re going to suck! (The video below from Amelia at 2 minutes onwards, REALLY helped me with my motorbiking).

If you’re the annoying “I have to do it great”, kind of person like I am, this is going to bruise your ego. And possibly other parts of your anatomy. 

Thankfully I didn’t fall hard that day. Sometimes I think that falling twice on the first day gave me enough respect for the bike.

Anyhow I think you should know that if you’re going to learn a new skill, it matters how you approach it. 

Learn because you want to, not to be the best

There are 3 lessons I learned, learning Spanish

These included;

  1. Making mistakes is how you learn.
  2. When you think you’ve got it, you know nothing – so you keep going.
  3. If you risk looking like a fool, you’re more likely to meet incredible people.

The bottom line is you’ve gotta learn because you want to learn, not for a specific outcome. I realize this goes against how the vast majority of schools and academic institutions structure learning but that’s another story for another day.

Recently my Spanish teacher told me I’ll never stop learning Spanish. I felt instantly depressed. 

What do you mean I’ll never stop learning?

He said, Lisa when you’re 80, you’ll still be learning new things in Spanish. It’s the way it is. 

3 Ways to learn new skills post 40

Learning is actually something we do every day anyway. 

I often think most of what happens in our lives is either a great experience or a learning experience. In other words, everything that is happening in your life is either to give you a fantastic experience or to present you with a learning. 

And sometimes it’s both together. Even with the most horrific experiences.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice of what skill we want to learn like a dear friend of mine who’s had to learn patience with having an illness.

But sometimes we do have a choice of what we want to learn.

  1. Learn what you love

Learn what you love. 

You go to school for 12 years of life and you are forced to take certain subjects like calculus (do they even teach that anymore?) and it’s a waste.

I can honestly tell you I have not used a single day of calculus or algebra in my entire life and boy did I suffer with those subjects for years. 

I’m sure there’s stuff you hated learning. 

The joy of adulting is that you get to choose! So choose what you love! Do something that makes your heart sing! 

Need some ideas;

  • Surfing
  • Cooking classes
  • Guitar – like my friend who took up guitar in his sixties
  • Motorbiking – obviously high on my list
  • A new language
  • Cycling – I HIGHLY recommend it. If you’re in the UK, check out Bia Cycling
  • Yoga – Yoga will make your body feel half its age and twice as flexible! I have the best yoga teacher ever and I can tell you that the teacher makes all the difference, so if you don’t like your first class, try another one.

2. Do those hard yards

I haven’t found any way to avoid this. Sorry. I know you want advice to make you feel better but I’d rather give it to you straight. 

The great thing is if you have a sense of humour, the hard yards become funny stories. Like this one from my novel;

There’s nothing quite like the pressure of having to speak perfect Spanish in a government department armed with little more than ‘hola’ and the basics better suited to ordering a glass of coffee, wine and other necessities.

On my run yesterday an old woman stopped me to ask me something. Or perhaps to tell me her life story. I’m not sure because she flung a flurry of words my way that I was unable to decipher. 

“Lo siento, pero no hablo espanol mucho”, I’m sorry I don’t speak much Spanish, she looked at me, shook her head and said

“Pues, gracias por nada” which means “well, thank you for nothing.!”

On that note, it’s probably going to feel like this as you learn but don’t give up. You’ve got this!

The Learning Pit

3. Learn the way you love

People will tell you, oh if you learn something new, you have to learn it like ‘this’. But you know what “you do you boo”. 

Some people learn by reading. Some people learn by looking at pictures. Others need to understand the theory.

Mostly I don’t care for theory but I do recognise it’s importance so I make an effort to learn verbs for Spanish, and turning circles for the bike.

But in the end it’s practice, practice, practice.

Awesome things WILL happen

Here’s what I can guarantee you. 

You’ll feel frustrated. You may cry. You may complain. You’ll probably tell everyone you hate it – whatever IT is that you’re learning. 

You’ll feel like you’re going nowhere and then whoop, like magic, it’ll fall into place and you’ll have an amazing experience!

It happened to me with cycling. For years, I battled. It never came easy to me. And then one trip I went on, it all just seemed to fall into place. It felt easy. I was loving it. I felt like a pro. 

I probably didn’t look like a pro but who cares. 

Here’s what’ll happen as you learn something new. You’ll

  • Gain confidence
  • Meet new people
  • Discover a new part of yourself
  • Keep your brain young

Brain function is closely linked to memory, learning, and attention. As we age, the areas of the brain responsible for motor, sensory, and cognitive skills weaken. Learning a new skill keeps the brain young by creating and regenerating new neural pathways.


Last but not least

This is probably one of the most important parts but as you learn something new, your brain will start to panic. 

It’ll tell you stuff like;

  1. You’re too old to do this
  2. This isn’t for people like you
  3. Don’t be ridiculous
  4. I’m not cut out for this.
  5. I’m not ready
  6. I’m too stupid

Blah blah blah

Do NOT pay attention! Do NOT believe everything you think. If you do, you’ll give up before you even start. 

You’re never too old. It’s never to late. 

Trust yourself! NEVER say dieYou’ve got this!


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