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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.