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Here's how Derek Hough motivates himself when he's feeling too tired to move

The "World of Dance" judge shares his advice for anyone who may be reluctant to learn how to dance (or a different skill).
/ Source: TODAY

Derek Hough has been a familiar face on TV for over a decade, first as a performer on “Dancing with the Stars” and currently as a judge on “World of Dance.” He’s now eager to teach the art of dance with fans through his just-announced Master Class.

To some, the idea of taking dance lessons might be a little scary. (Just ask any groom-to-be preparing for the first dance at his wedding.) But Hough believes there’s a real benefit to stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

Hough says being vulnerable is one of the keys for anyone who may be hesitant to learn how to dance.NBC / Trae Patton

“In my experience and in my years of dancing or just in general doing anything in life, the things that you’re a little bit afraid of tend to be the most fulfilling things, the things that you feel the most zest, or life, for,” he told TODAY by email for our One Small Thing series. “When you do them you’re like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I almost didn’t do that.’”

Hough, who recently announced his first live solo tour, challenged those who may be reluctant to learn a new skill to push themselves and make themselves vulnerable.

“I think when you’re vulnerable is when you’re courageous, you feel alive. When you feel alive, you’re at your best,” he explained. “So I would say, Challenge yourself.

“I say this a lot but you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great, so get in there, go for it and don’t be too hard on yourself.”

To be great at dancing (or, at least, OK at dancing), practice is essential, but you also need to be “resilient and relentless” and have the ability to “let go,” according to Hough.

“When you can let go a little bit and just be free, it’s really when you start to see some beautiful, amazing dancing,” he said.

Hough sees plenty of beautiful and amazing dancing on his NBC reality competition, "World of Dance," along with fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo and host Jenna Dewan.NBC

What does he do to motivate himself when he’s feeling too tired to move? The high-energy choreographer takes a walk.

“In order to feel anything in life, you have to feel it through your nervous system, you have to physically feel it through your body, so one of the fastest ways to change the way you feel is to move your body, and suddenly you feel like doing things, you feel like working out, you feel like dancing,” he said.

“So I’ll just go outside and go for a walk and instantly it changes my entire energy. Going outside, just being outside in nature, in the sunlight gives you a boost.”

With everything that he has going on in his career, Hough finds balance through what he described as chunking, or focusing on one project at a time, while also remaining grateful for the opportunities in his life.

“I think when I stay grateful it gives me more energy to do more things and to execute more of these amazing things,” he shared.

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Hough’s energy is on full display in the four classes in his “World of Dance” Master Class, in which he teaches the cha-cha, jive, contemporary and urban dance styles.

“It’s definitely one of the most fulfilling things I do, to be able to pass on years of experience and knowledge to somebody else and see them grow and see them get better,” he said.

You can learn more about the lessons and sign up at

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