This relates to programming, but I think it extends to learning just about anything new:
Learning to program is like learning to swim. No amount of theory is a substitute for diving into the pool and flailing around in the water gasping for air. The first time you sink under the water, you panic, but when you bob to the surface and gulp in some air, you feel elated. You think to yourself, “I can swim.” At least that’s how I felt when I learned to swim.
- from Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate