Taking Steps Toward Improving the Learning Process

Step 2:  Try it

What?  I haven’t done my research yet!  I haven’t mastered all the technical aspects and read all the self help books on the subject yet!  You want me to TRY DOING something new right off the bat?  Yup. You’ve already identified the stuff you know.  You try in order to find out if you have a unique and powerful talent you didn’t know about.  You try because you need to find out if that stuff you said you knew when you did your first look through was stuff you were really good at.  Take for instance my football player.

He started out playing futbol in Jamaica.  He was very good at passing and scoring and thought it would translate to American football.  He wasn’t used to airborne passing however.  He went to a practice and was surprised by the amount of equipment each was required to wear.  He went through the drills, then he tried playing receiver.  He couldn’t catch well enough.  The coach took him aside and suggested he be a running back, someone that carries the ball but doesn’t pass or catch.  He was pleasantly surprised that he could out maneuver all his opponents because of the extensive footwork that was required in playing the futbol he grew up with.  He also discovered he could do field goals and kick offs very well.  He would not have discovered these talents if he hadn’t jumped in and tried.

The purpose of trying then is to discover what you do and don’t know.  I know a lot of people in the financial business that get hired on and thrown into the deep end.  You need to get this and that license and this and that certification, but in the mean time, let’s go out and do some field work.  They completely freeze up.  “I can’t do that!  I don’t know anything yet!”  Even if they’ve been promised that there will be a trainer there to do all the heavy lifting, they hang back and wait until they have all the book work done.  They don’t realize that in getting in the field, they put their hands on actual documents and thereby get hands on experience in addition to what the text book and the flash cards give them.  It’s like teaching a kid to swim by putting him in a desk and teaching him about relative density, propulsion physics, rescue procedures, kinesthetics of swimming.  Most people don’t realize that the deep end of whatever they’re trying just means more support.  If you explain to a little kid that the more water there is, the more stuff is there to support them.  Try floating in 5″ of water.  Now try in 5′ of water.  It’s EASIER!  And after you float, it doesn’t matter how deep the water is, you are on top of it anyway.  It’s the same way in any new field of study.  If you have a good group of mentors/teachers, they will help you out more if you get into the field.  No one wants to just sit in the classroom unless they like the classroom environment.

When you are learning something new, the HARDEST part usually is just taking that 1st step.  I’ve had LOTS of 1st steps.  I started playing piano when I was about 2.  I gave my 1st recital at age 3.  I started ballet at age 6 or 7 because the doctor said it would be good for my hip.  1st time in a class,  “Oh?  Sure, I can put my feet like that. Ok, remember those steps?  Yeah, I can do that.  What?  Balance on 1 foot?  Sure I can….aaaaaaaahhhhhh *crash*  Ok, I’ll need to work on that.”  4th-7th grade learned Spanish.  5th grade band, learn to play the trumpet.  6th grade, learned to play guitar.  6th grade band, sat 1st chair ahead of an 8th grader.  7th grade tried choir.  Discovered I had perfect pitch.  8th grade discovered the Renaissance and interesting history and musical instruments.  9th grade got back into Spanish.  Discovered Spanish led to Latin led to Italian led to French.  Freshman year in college, tried French Horn.  Discovered I had to mentally transpose to get the pitches right.  Discovered I could mentally transpose.  Sight read a Copland piece in orchestra that required transposition from B flat trumpet to trumpet in A.  blah blah blah.  Are you asleep yet?  The point is, using the jump in and try it, I’ve been able to learn many disciplines and subjects and gotten many licenses and certifications.  Each time I jumped in and tried, it led to something else I wanted to learn, so I would try that.  Curiosity is a good thing.  The old saying, “curiosity killed the cat,” is inaccurate.  The cat has 9 lives, and he HAS 9 lives because each time he gets curious, he learns something new that saves him from dying.

The 2nd step then is to make an attempt, try something new, find out what you know and what you don’t.

3rd step tomorrow!

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