Sunday, July 30, 2006

how fast can you learn?

The answer is trickier than you might think. First of all, it has very little to do with the way you are being taught. You will learn, on average, at exactly the pace at which you are ready to make congruent changes in the way you think and act. When you are entirely ready for something new, you can slip into it as easily as though it had long been familiar to you. When you are trying to convince yourself to want a change that feels wrong or dangerous, your learning slows way down.

Typically, we make the complaint that a course is light in material, or slow in pace, when we ourselves are less ready to engage the material. There is nothing so simple that it cannot trigger our explorations or change our understanding of the world. Think of Newton under the apple tree. If we are coasting along the surface of material, it is usually because we are reluctant to engage it. We go through the motions.

Going through the motions is a bit like swimming upstream - you'll get where you're going but it feels awfully slow. If you seem to be moving more slowly than you think you would like, take another look at what you would like. Is it a change that is safe and ecological? Do you really want to be able to move more quickly in the wrong direction?

Going with the flow is great - as long as the flow is moving in a direction you want to go.

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