Day 200: Learning is a Process (Part 2) – My Personal Experience

So did not understanding how learning works have any significant impact in my life? Let's take a look.

By the way, this post is a continuation from the previous post Day 199: Learning is a Process - Did you Know That? So if you haven't read that, you'll want to start there first.

One of the first and probably the most significant ways it impacted me was in school. In the beginning I was pretty good at all the various subjects. Yet as time went on, things became increasingly more complex, there was more information to work with and more skill required, and I started making more mistakes. As I was making more mistakes, I took this to mean there is something wrong with me, because I hadn't been making so may mistakes before and took this as a sign that I am 'failing' instead of realizing that it is part of the learning process itself.

So as this pattern continued throughout school, and it is really exacerbated by the way schools are set up currently, as you don't really get 'second chances' at anything, so it's like this misunderstanding of how learning work si s built into the very structure of the school system itself, because if it was understood that it takes time and effort and repetition to effectively learn and integrate something, it wouldn't be designed this way where you have a certain amount of time to get it, and if you don't get it in that time, oh well. If it was understood that it's going to take as long as it takes for each individual to effectively understand and integrate something, this would be reflected in the design of school curriculum, where the courses/lessons would be able to fit according to what each student requires, if the purpose of school is really to educate. Because the way it is now, it is really about putting you through a one-shot course where you either make it or you don't, so there is no checking to make sure that each student has really learned the material or skill and if they haven't then making sure that each student has what they need to do so. That doesn't happen at all.

So as I progressively made more mistakes, and feeling like 'maybe I just can't do this' / 'I'm not smart' / 'I'm not good at school', this led to thinking that 'I don't like school', because who would really want to be going through such an experience of failing and thinking that it is something wrong with you, and so you are really believing that there is no real point to being in school and studying these things anymore if you apparently don't have the 'capacity' for it, because making mistakes I took as a sign that I am failing or something is going wrong, like mistakes just shouldn't be happening. Like if you're good at something, you don't make mistakes, or maybe just in rare cases. Which of course is because I didn't understand how learning works and that mistakes really are part of the process, and so they're really not 'mistakes'. I mean, if you are 'good' at something, you will maybe not make many mistakes, but I didn't realize that it takes a process to become 'good at something', it is not something just automatic/built it/part of you like magic.

I did manage to graduate from high school, and after you finish high school many students will go on to college, but I did not. I avoided college like the plague just to avoid the classwork and homework, and I said it was because I didn't have the money and that was indeed true, but I didn't even look into or ask anyone if there were any other options like scholarships or grants, which I did vaguely know about, I knew there were possibilities, but I was so 'done' with school because it was 'such a hassle', and by this point I really quite believed I just 'wasn't cut out for it'.

So these are major life decisions, that were all determined by not understanding how learning works, because that shaped even my entire perception of myself! And who I am, what I can and can't do, what I am apparently not capable of! And none of it was true. I mean, I wasn't lacking skills because I didn't have the capability, I just didn't understand that skills are acquired through a process, where you practice until you get to a point where it is now a 'natural' ability because you've integrated it so much that now it comes 'naturally'.

Now, I essentially was questioning myself in everything I'd do in my life – because I didn't have a proper understanding of what all is ivolved when one is 'naturally' 'talented' or 'gifted' or 'skilled' in something – believing this meant you could 'just do it' like magic, that the ability was just 'in you' somehow, not realizing there's a process involved, nothing comes out of thin air, except maybe our money, but that's another topic altogether – you aren't born an amazing singer or songwriter. I mean, I remember hearing interviews and comments from accomplished singers or songwriters and when asked 'how they do it' they'll respond something like 'I don't know, I just do it, it just comes naturally for me' and so perpetuating the idea that you can just 'have an ability' like magic, like in the matrix for example where you could just download kung fu for example and then instantly you can do it.

And so I believed it must be this 'knack' that either you have or you don't I mean even take the title of this show for example 'who's got talent' as if it's 'something you've got or you don't' and we often see this as meaning that either it's 'in you or it's not' like you either have the ability already within you, and if you don't then you're not an artist or singer or songwriter or whatever. Because we often only see the finished products, we don't for the most part see the practicing and the 'mistakes' and all the effort that was involved in creating the finished product. We hear a great singer perform a song flawlessly and we think 'wow, how on earth did they do that?' / 'wow, they're so talented'.

But it is actually a simple common sense reality point, where if you knew that someone is practicing something say everyday, what would you expect to happen eventually – they're going to get better at it. So it's not really anything special in a magical sense. It's a simple input/output equation – you get out what you put in. So it is really interesting that we tend to react with a kind of shock or reverence when someone is really good at something, but really if you are practicing something to the point of perfection, then achieving such a result is not a surprise, it is the natural outflow of self-disciplined practicing and application over time. I mean, if you put all the ingredients together for a cake and put it in a pan and put it in the oven for the appropriate temperature and time, you are reasonably going to expect the result of all this to be – a cake.

But I didn't get that and so whenever I was doing some singing or sat down to do some art maybe drawing or painting, I would constantly be like observing and judging 'how it is going' and according to how I perceive it is going as either positive or negative, or successful or unsuccessful - questioning whether I 'am an artist or not'. So for example, if as I'm going along and the drawing or painting isn't turning out how I'd imagined or wanted it to, or if I don't like the picture that is developing, then I would start thinking 'maybe I can't do this' / 'I'm just not an artist' because apparently if I 'was an artist' it would just be working and everything I do would turn out wonderfully and perfectly without even really having to try apparently.

So when it was pointed out to me and explained how learning is actually a process, and I looked back through my life and saw, that the things that I did do well in life, I had actually spent a lot of time and effort into learning and practicing it. For example with knitting, it was something I was really determined to learn and so I just kept at it, and eventually I got to an expert level in knitting and teaching others to knit and going on to more and more complex knitting challenges and such. And then, what was interesting, is others who saw my skill with knitting would say 'oh you're so talented' / 'you've really got a knack for that' / 'you're such an artist' – yet I knew the grueling hard work that I went through to get to that point, I mean there were times in the beginning as I was teaching myself how to knit, that I would get so lost and frustrated in it (mostly because I had no one to teach me and was learning from very non-descriptive books at a time where you couldn't yet just 'google' anything on the internet, nowadays there are numerous sources from which you can much more easily learn to knit with very detailed video tutorials) that I would just say 'to hell with this' and I would just stop knitting for a couple months, but then I would eventually pick it up again and keep going. So, I saw the only difference between me and those who didn't have this skill with knitting, was that I simply put in the time and effort and kept going, and didn't give in to thoughts and ideas and beliefs that I apparently 'couldn't do it', or it's 'not me', 'I'm not a knitter', 'it's not for me', and I just kept going. And so I made sure to always explain this point – where I could have just said 'yeah it's just what I do' or 'I just have a knack for it' but I did not want to perpetuate a false idea, which would then hinder others as well from applying themselves to learn skills for themselves.

I also saw that another dimension to this point, of believing that you've either 'got it' or you don't – is actually used as an excuse to not apply oneself, like if one has a resistance to being disciplined and putting in time and effort, then it is convenient to say 'I just can't do it'. Then you don't even have to try, because you think you'd rather not put in the effort, but not realizing that within this, you actually limit yourself because you don't get anything for nothing, despite what our economy would have you believe where stores can give away things 'for free' apparently, yet nothing is free as it all took labor to produce it, and so if you're getting it for free, then you know someone isn't getting paid for their labor!

So fascinatingly, you can see how we haven't recognized the labor it takes to develop a skill, nor the labor it takes to produce things in this reality – so this misunderstanding takes place on various levels of life in various dimensions. The key point that missed here, is that this is how the physical reality functions. It takes effort to live and exist here. It takes effort to expand ourselves into more than what we already are. And as we more and more think we want to avoid effort, the more and more we diminish ourselves, which actually makes life harder, and makes the effort that is necessary to be done to support ourselves seem even harder.

Yet, what have we seen with those who have become an expert in one skill or another – that once you have effectively become it, it is then a 'natural' ability, where it is practically effortless, because you integrated it to the point where it is like breathing, and have a look – breathing is not hard is it? You even do it in your sleep. So this is another Important point about the learning ability that wasn't understood either – that the effort you put in is to your benefit and that that effort and consistent self disciplined application is what would actually lead to things being easier.

In the next post - we'll take a look at how my life has changed since I've put these realizations into application, and now can do things that I never thought I could, gaining skills where I once thought it was impossible and it just keeps going!

Suggested Reading:

Day 294: Natural Learning Ability of the Feral Child

Day 297: Natural Learning Ability and Sound Tonality of Words

Day 295: Natural Learning Ability – Parenting Responsibility

Day 435: Basic Income Guaranteed and Education

No comments:

Post a Comment