Dignity is a great thing to abandon when learning something new.
Nothing holds a person back more than fear they may look, sound or feel like an idiot. But if self-consciousness was allowed to block endeavour, humans would never have gone to the moon.
Nor would you have attempted to ride a bike, as you might have done as a young tacker that first time, possibly into a rose bush.
The first critical step to learning something new is having a crack, and possibly experiencing some cracks, if not a few scratches. And forget about the idiot thing; in triumphing over adversity you may well still be an idiot anyhow, so don't let it be a barrier.
Nothing illustrates that better than surfing. The ancient yearning to stand on a stick of fibreglass and go "yew" is rich with opportunities for humiliation.
Exhibit A: Attempting to paddle out the first 500 or so times, getting stuck in the break and subsequently ground into the sandbar/washmachine/grinder.
Exhibit B: Finally making it out the back and then plunging over the falls first wave back into the break where you are ground into the sandbar/washmachine/grinder, again.
Exhibit C: Giving up trying to get out the back because you're now exhausted and heading back to shore only to get stuck in a gutter and washed down the beach because you can't stand up (a variation on the central theme of learning how to surf)
Exhibit D: Attempting to get out of the gutter by catching a wave which then turns into the shore dump which grinds you one last time in front of beach goers, including little kids making sand castles.
Exhibit E: Attempting to stand up after that hammering in front of those little kids only to stumble over because you're in three inches of water, thus lolling around like those jellyfish you often notice at the mercy of the wash.
Exhibit F: Eventually managing to stand up and attempt to wrap your leg rope around the end of your board but instead getting the rope caught around your legs and falling over again.
Exhibit G: Slinking up to the showers hoping no-one was watching, which maybe they were, but honestly, no-one cares (unless you knocked over their sand castle).
It's a familiar story for anyone trying to learn how to surf, and illustrates perfectly how essential abandoning dignity is when trying to learn something new.
It's definitely a case of if at first you don't succeed, try try again - a bit like attempting to navigate your way down the Pacific Highway this week.
Sure, you had to turn around a couple of times and stay at your sister's another night, but eventually the waters recede and you're riding that wave to victory.
Who knows, one day you might find yourself lining up with the pros at the World Surf League event kicking off at Newcastle next week.
They all had to start somewhere. Yew!