When does learning come?

Josh Waitzkin wrote in his book on The Art of Learning, “Growth comes at the point of resistance.” And for this blog post, I’m taking “growth” to be learning. Growth, or learning, comes when we push ourselves beyond the limits of what we can normally do. Only when we explore this area, and linger in it for a while. Only when we experience this slight discomfort, can we experience growth, or learning. Adaptation from the muscles OR the mind happens when we go beyond our limits.

I will add two other aphorisms on learning that parallel Waitzkin’s excellent observation.

Learning comes at the point of wonder. When we are in a recovery mode, allowing our “default mode network” to run in the background, we are inviting creative ideas. This is one reason why it is so important to incorporate recovery into not only our physical regimen but also our mental endeavors. In addition, I would say that we can consciously invite wonder by simply acknowledging to ourselves how amazing our experience of life is. In other words, by being grateful. Try keeping gratitude in your thoughts while performing a task. This effort can foster a sense of wonder and happiness.

Learning comes at the point of willingness. This might be one of the first and most important gateways to learning. Often, it is the willingness to try something different that allows us to get started on our journey of growth. When, for example, our teacher asks us to try an approach that is not our preferred method, the first idea that pops up in our mind is often a feeling of unwillingness and doubt. But, if you have a teacher you trust, then trust even the recommendations that might feel uncomfortable. Embrace change, because change is the way of growth. If you, instead, embrace sameness, then sameness is is the best you can hope for in terms of your mastery of the trumpet.

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Periodicity and happiness–part two

Yesterday, I blogged about the importance of pushing yourself–“Growth comes at the point of resistance.” (Josh Waitzkin)

Today, because the overall topic is periodicity, I want to delve just a bit into recovery.

How many times have you burnt out? How many times did you tell yourself that you were going to be the best at something, only to reach a point of exhaustion, after which you had to give up. What about the time you played too many high notes on the trumpet, and you injured your lip, forcing you to take a long time off the trumpet to recover?

This is where the recovery part of periodicity comes into play. You must respect the feedback that you are getting from you mind and body. If you start feeling pain or exhaustion (physical or mental), then you need to rest. This could mean taking the rest of the day off. Or it could mean switching to something else that is not so stressful. Take a walk or even a vacation. These are vital to your overall progress. REST IS VITAL TO YOUR PROGRESS. Please remember this and don’t push yourself too far.

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