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“That was fun.” I told my bestfriend after coming out of a bowling alley for the first time in my life. 

“You were pretty good for your first time.” She acknowledged me, clearly impressed.

“Thank you. Thank you.”

“Well, don’t be too happy cause all it is, is beginner’s luck.”

The last part set me thinking on this phenomenon – beginner’s luck – a phrase that we use around so much without even knowing why it is the way it is. 

According to the Cambridge Dictionary (who hopefully isn’t a beginner for the sake of our literature knowledge), beginner’s luck is an unexpected success experienced by a person who is just starting a particular activity. 

That means, you are more likely to excel at an activity, sport, competition or a game, if you’ve never tried your hand at it before.

As I look back on that non-lockdown day, I figure that’s exactly what happened with me that day in the bowling alley. I had no knowledge, no previous experience of the game. And still I managed to come in second position. Maybe even first for all I remember.

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Hold up. This makes absolutely no sense. Yeah. It is actually pretty counter-intuitive to think that a novice would beat an expert.

Well there are ample reasons for the same, the foremost one being the detachment between the beginner and the game, sport, competition or activity. The newcomer has no past record or history, thus he doesn’t have to live up to anything. He or she doesn’t have a reputation on stake. All of this because they are new at the activity and aren’t even expected to do very well. Unlike many others already in the race, they wanna perform well because they’re excited and not just dragging through it. So they perceive the situation to be in their favor. What we perceive affects how we perform And as it turns out, that perception can influence us in very real ways.

In short, these guys got no pressure. Just like I had none, when I scored a perfect 10 CGPA in 6th grade, because that was the first year we got CGPAs and hence, no past record.

The other reason prevails in the territory of games and sports or competitive scenarios. If you were to play any game, indoor or outdoor, with your regular buddy, you’ll surely know what move they’ll play when they’re stuck. Like said, being a beginner means having no past records. Which further means, no track of the strategies used by them. You can add two and two now. And for those who are unable to – it means that the opponent usually plans his own strategy based on your previous actions. So if he doesn’t know about them, he’ll be caught off guard and hence increase your chance of winning extensively. 

Okay. Understood.

But why did you spend your time reading this? Because there’s something for you too.

Beginner’s luck is good to have, isn’t it? But it won’t be beginner’s luck after the first time. Although you can surely keep that winning streak.

Disconnect yourself from the pressure of the competition. From the pressure of the expectations. I am fully aware that this is way easier said than done. But we can always try. Looking at it, I can see my grade’s topper doing the same thing. After the exams when he is asked about what he expects, his reply is almost always, “Nothing.”

As Krishna ji said,”Karm karo, fal ki chinta mat karo”(do your duty without being concerned about results).

I think that’s what all beginners do knowingly unknowingly.


What are your beginner’s luck experiences?

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