As small kids, we naturally discovered that being incapable of an activity was often a temporary state. We were incapable of talking until we learned to talk. Just because at one point we weren’t talking, didn’t mean we would always be unable to talk. As toddlers, I don’t think we even considered not learning to talk. We just did it. Our growth was very natural. We didn’t question it.
To learn to talk, we discovered that we had to listen closely to what people older than us were saying and repeat it. So we did! (Can you imagine how hard it would be to learn to talk if we had refused to listen?)
And not only did we listen to the older kids and adults around us speak, we PRACTICED speaking again and again until eventually we learned to communicate with language easily and naturally.
I started reflecting upon the determination with which small children learn because in a Bikram Yoga class a few months ago, I became so dizzy that I chose to sit out many of the poses. But I remember that I kept listening to the cues the teacher was giving and thinking about the poses as the other students did them.
The Bikram experience got me thinking about how often in life I have not been determined to learn. On many occasions, I have chosen to sit out activities because I felt incapable of them. Not only did I sit the activities out, but I also tuned the teachers of those activities out and started daydreaming, instead of listening to their wisdom and instructions. It was like since I didn’t feel capable of performing these activities, I put a blindfold on and covered my ears to see if that would help me learn. It didn’t. And further, I wasn’t benefiting from the teacher’s enthusiasm for the activity. I was rather saying, “I CAN’T” and then through my lack of attention moving myself farther away from “I CAN.”
After years of stubbornness and frustration, I’m discovering that learning a challenging activity begins with listening and watching and continues with trying. Trying can be very humbling. In yoga class, I’ve tried Crane pose for years and haven’t YET been able to hold the pose for a length of time. But now I always listen as the teacher explains the set-up. Then I make an attempt. And someday I’m confident that I will be able to hold crane.
I’ve discovered that close listening to our teachers is not only a sign of respect for our teachers, but a sign of respect for ourselves and our growth.
Let’s listen to all the people who take the time to teacher us challenging activities as we listened closely to every word when we were little kids learning to talk. Back then every word brought with it the opportunity for us to GROW. And we LOVED IT. May listening closely to all who have things to teach us bring us GREAT JOY again.
Game of the Day
What do you LOVE about learning how to do a challenging activity?
Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset. For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.