in Being, Humanity, Lessons, Startup, WorldOfWork

Yes, learning is hard. But do it anyway.

It seems popular, these days, for coaches and consultants to talk about ‘continuous learning’ or the ‘learning organisation’.

Learning is like sex – everyone nods knowingly when it is being talked about, but few are actually doing it well or at all.

For me, learning a new skill is hard – especially if you are unconsciously competent – i.e. an expert, in another domain. Although I take baby steps and mentally (an emotionally) prepare to feel inadequate or stupid, that preparation does not fully protect me against those feelings. I do feel frustrated and stupid when I learn something new.

I’m not one of those naturally curious ‘take it apart to see how it works’ nerds. I need a reason to do anything – even if that reason is simply to have some fun. Luckily I am a solution dreamer – to problems that I see everywhere and even those that haven’t yet peaked. So, what I lack in curiosity, I make up for in imagination.

Of course, learning is only the beginning – think of it as an introduction to a new skill. You are barely becoming competent, you are simply prepping yourself to begin. Practice, once you have the basics, is really where I make all my solid, sticky learning. This holds its own hardships too.

My preferred style of learning anything is to have a goal – for example, when I learned to knit, I set myself a goal of knitting a scarf.

This goal-focused approach means that I can focus my learning, ignoring those things that may be valuable but do not directly move me towards my goal. It also means I have a reason to practice – rather than to learn, it is to create my goal.

What often suffers when I take this approach is that I skip a whole load of important theoretical back story of why certain things are the way they are. But on the plus side I get something tangible quickly.

Every step of the learning experience, especially in the early stages are painful. I feel frustrated that I’m making such slow progress. I find having expertise in a related domain makes things worse.

For example, as I learn React Native to build my Personal Relationships Management app – “Percy” – the WTF/min are really high because I know how quickly I can achieve the same functionality in Java or Ruby – both of which I code with some fluency.

Of course you hear those well meaning fools who harp on about ‘make it fun’ – clearly they haven’t done any learning recently. How do you make the constant feeling of inadequacy or the sense of being a dumdum any fun?

When I learned to juggle, I remember feeling physically sick from sense of failure when – in spite of my best efforts – I just couldn’t keep three balls in the air at the same time. Until I did and that sense was immediately quashed forever.

This turnaround is addictive – and anticipating when I will get beyond the tunnel of crap into the light of palpable competence – itself is exciting. It’s a rush. It’s what keeps me showing up to learn and improve.

The capabilities you develop are rewarding – if nothing else, this new skill gives you a new set of filters and paradigms to see the world through. It gives me a new world from which to draw metaphors from.

So – of course it hurts, but it’s worth it – so do it anyway.

How does learning affect you and why do you show up?

 

I can’t write about colonialism or the Commonwealth

I’ve been trying, without success, for the last month to write a blog post on the curse of colonialism and the abomination that is the Commonwealth.

I finally get Trump

I finally get him. He is a terrible United States President.
He is also the best one to catalyse the demise of this dying empire.

“Negotiating sex is rather difficult”

Even if you don’t read this post, go watch this: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-42171536/world-hacks-the-secret-ring-helping-women-protect-themselves-from-hiv There is so much in the western media of sexual harassment and assault, so I want to also draw attention to this – I saw a recent BBC video about a secret ring that some women in Malawi are testing to protect themselves against HIV from partners who they cannot ‘negotiate sex’ with OR even negotiate them putting on a condom.

Day 1: I am Rohingya #51Days

Today as part of my #51days act of solidarity, I shall change my twitter profile to ‘I am Rohingya” The Rohingya are an ethnic group that live in Myanmar – formerly Burma – they are mostly Muslims in a country that is predominantly Buddhist.

51 days of solidarity and advocacy.

There are 51 days until Christmas 2016.

Passion, care and the Agile Manifesto is really all you need.

As I sat with a professional services team at my client, launching into my tried and tested description of what agility means and how to do it sustainably, the last 11 years of my life flashed in front of me and I saw something that I hadn’t realised before.

I am tired.

I’m tired, very very tired of trying to build startups.

I’m delighted by…Shade Station

What: Prescription glasses, Prescription Sunglasses online When: 28th June 2016 Address/Website: http://shadestation.co.uk 5 things that delighted me: Huge choice of prescription specs – I wanted wraparounds Really affordable.

My Camino is over for now. I walked 255 km for ME/CFS

In January 2016, I committed to take my dog – Maya – on a really long walk and I committed to use the walk to raise money and awareness for more investment into the medical conditions: Myalgic Encephalitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and FibroMyalgia.

I walked 15 km today for Julia and Mandie

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Today is my last day of the Camino long walk.

Today I walked 24 km for Jennifer Dendor

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“The frustration of not being able to scratch an itch, or turn over in bed as your body felt like it was made of lead, was gut wrenching.“ Here is Jennifer’s story of how she manages a family with a small daughter and at the same time, keeping her condition under control.

Today I walked 30 km for Jenna and Giselle Atkinson

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Dealing with ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia is not just your personal suffering and your loved ones’- but also the attitude of society: not taking you seriously as a disabled person.

Today I walked 20 km for Ben Howell

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Ben Howell shares with us his story today about how he went from a very active person building a career in the fitness industry to not being able to exercise or leave the house.

Today I walked 30 km for Maria Solano

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“Each day is a day working towards recovery and finding the strength I never knew I could have.” – Maria When were you first diagnosed with ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia?