9 Reason Why Learning Something New Is Frustrating

We’ve all heard the quote that learning is continuous. No one knows it all. But, it can be frustrating and challenging when you try to learn something new. 

Why is Learning Something New so Frustrating? Learning requires patience and reasoning, Learning can quickly become overwhelming if it’s not backed by proper reasoning and mindset. I remember when I wanted to learn a skill it was very challenging and these are the 9 reasons why it was such a challenge.

1. It takes time to adapt

When you are on the mission to acquire new knowledge the circumstances change. Being able to fit and adjust to those circumstances while acknowledging and accepting those changes is what adaptability means.

As John. F. Kennedy once said – 

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future

Why does it take time to adapt?

Can you recall a song that you rarely liked to hear but after you heard you would simply not stop listening to it. What changed? At first, you heard the song and found it interesting. Then you heard it again and again. What changed was repetition! Consciously or subconsciously you decided to keep going ahead with it till it became your favorite.

It is the same with learning a new skill. At first, you would feel a lack of motivation and distraction but all you have to do is keep going and repeating till you adapt to the change. Therefore, The secret to adapt is repetition. According to research done by Robert F Bruner, Repetition is the First Principle of All Learning

So, there is no quick secret in learning to adapt. The process is painful but worth the pain because I bet that after a few repetitions the skills you want to learn would be worth it.

2.Self-Created Mindset

What was the last skill that you learned? Was it learning to communicate? Was it a skill from your professional life? What did you learn? If you succeed then great, you don’t need this article anymore. Simply check what worked and repeat that process. But if you didn’t get what you want? Did you underestimate yourself by saying things like “It’s not just my thing”

I remember a quick incident from my college days that I did not like the subject called Business Laws so I developed a mindset that laws are equal to the boring stuff. But straightforward 5 years later before planning my business, I needed to understand the laws of the government and I again found it tiring but the business needed to work. Therefore, a self-created mindset always does more harm than good.

How do you battle this self-created mindset that stops us from learning?

  • Identify the problem – The first thing to do is to identify the thoughts that are limiting us. E.g. Learning coding is a waste of time.
  • Identify what you’re losing – Once you identify the problem the next logical step is to attach a pain point and divert your mind into thinking that if you don’t overcome the problem you would have bigger consequences. E.g. If I don’t learn to code I wouldn’t get the job and hence won’t be able to be successful
  • Attach the pleasure – Once you attach a pain point now it is time to think about the benefits you would be getting from achieving those skills. E.g. If I learn to code I would be able to start my passive income through freelancing.
3. You don’t look at the result

Another reason why learning something new is frustrating is because we tend to focus more on the journey than the result. There is a saying that goes if you focus more on the bat while playing cricket your hands would feel heavier and you would feel fatigued. Whereas if you focused on where the ball is coming from you can score better runs. Check out the research by
NCBI

Therefore when you focus too much on the actions you would feel fatigued and hence frustrated to learn the new skill. Rather keep your standards high and look at the milestone. Another study by NCBI claims that external focus promotes automatic and efficient functioning.

How do you focus on the result so that learning becomes easy?

  • Identify whether you like the process or not – You can focus on the process till it no longer motivates you. But when you start feeling frustrated, you must explore the results so that they would keep you motivated.
  • Think about the benefits of grinding – When you no longer enjoy the process but the process must happen to reach the goal then you should look at the result. You can probably google someone who has the related skills and check what and how they’re doing.
4. Your Why is not Strong enough

A couple of months back I felt like I needed to develop my communications skills because I felt I wasn’t a good listener so I enrolled in a course from Udemy and thought that this would be enough. However, since it was a self-paced course I would sit and take it seriously sometimes and other times I won’t pursue it. Do you know why? Because my why was not strong enough.

If I had a deeper purpose attached to it. I would probably do much better and get the desired results. So why is it necessary? If you had a greater purpose to learn something new you would keep yourself focused and feel the complete passion burning inside of you. However, with a weak why, you would probably end up crawling through the day.

If you already have a good enough purpose to keep going and still struggle with frustrations, you probably need to rethink your why and reinstall it in your head. However, if you have not set strong reasoning behind your why. You must do it as soon as possible, or else, you would stay frustrated most of the time when you’re trying to learn something new.

5. You’re Pushing too hard

Can you imagine that there is something called focusing too much? Yes, the fancy word for this is perfectionism. It has its advantages and disadvantages. You should be able to identify the time when you need perfectionism and other times when you don’t need them. Pushing too hard generally means constantly thinking about the one thing till you get it right.

When learning a new skill, you must get things right but most of us stick to one thing until we get it right. This creates a perfectionist mindset and creates mental blocks which rather stops our growth. Various signs determine whether or not you are pushing too hard to learn something

  • You Feel Overwhelmed – Whilst you get stuck with perfecting one thing, you gather so much information which makes you overwhelmed. If you feel this happening you might want to ease out.
  • You keep forgetting stuff – Until we get the right answer we get stuck in the problem and keep gathering information. This creates a pile of information and affects your short-term thinking.
  • You behave crankily – One of the side effects of perfectionism is that you tend to find more and more information to get a perfect answer and when you don’t find one you become cranky.
6. You’re procrastinating – 


Procrastination while learning something new happens when you don’t understand the importance of the topic and start taking it for granted. Procrastination is the combination of lack of motivation, delayed action, and lower self-confidence. When you combine these you find that the topic is not relevant and hence take it for granted.

Why do we procrastinate while learning something new?

We think that we procrastinate due to distractions and it is correct. But in the process of learning something new, we find that the unpleasant topics divert our minds. To overcome this, we can make some quick fixes like changing our locations of learning or starting over and finding what we love about it.

It is also critical to understand why the topic is necessary to complete and how it will help you improve your skill that you’re trying to learn.

7. You don’t have a proper action plan

When you want to learn something new, it is critical to understand all things you need to learn to master the ultimate skill that you’re after. It is an action plan or checklist that you need to complete to learn something new. If you don’t have one you should be because it is going to be a frustrating journey if you don’t already have it.

How not having an action plan lead to the frustration of learning something new 

  • You don’t know where to start – One of the reasons to have an action plan is to jot down the list of things that you would need, to learn something effectively.
  • You might miss out on something – If you don’t have an action plan you would simply follow blindly and chances are you might miss on something that was supposed to be the base.
  • You take an unnecessary risk – When you don’t jot down your action plans you most probably risk missing out on something or the other. Hence you need an action plan every time you sit to learn something new

8. You don’t understand the basics of your topic

Another important reason that would probably keep you frustrated while learning something new is that you don’t understand the basics. If the very fundamentals of the skills you want to learn are unclear then as you move ahead you would be frustrated because of some terminologies that you still have no clarity about. 

Years ago, I wanted to master digital marketing. While I was still pursuing it I came across various technical terminologies like Impressions and CTR. Since it was just a demand of the hour I had no strong purpose and felt frustrated mostly. After a while when I was called for the interview. I had issues with my basics due to which I could not crack the interview. If I had strong fundamentals, would I not get the job? Of course, I would. 

Therefore, it is important to not skim through the course or blog, or whatever means you had to learn the skill. Rather you must take your time and master the basics and then move forward. I also talked about perfectionism and how some of us spend way too much time perfecting. We don’t want that either. All we need is to clear the basics about a particular topic and move on

9. You’re learning it the hard way

While I acknowledge that learning something new is challenging and takes time to adapt. There are some times when you learn the new skills the hard way rather than the easy way which makes it frustrating to learn For E.g. Learning from someone unknown may result in limited learning. Whereas if you learn it from reputable sources, it might cover more in-depth and explain much easily.

To solve this issue, first and foremost you must begin with proper research about the skills you want to learn. In your research, try and find out various alternatives and then review them on Google before making a final decision about the course you want to opt for. Therefore the secret to avoiding frustration while learning a new skill is to properly do the research.

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Hey, y'all I'm Faisal!!👋

I’m SO excited you’re here!  I’m super passionate about improving ourselves and the daily challenges we Millennials go through, gives me hope to change our lives for good!

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