The Cyclical Nature of Learning Something.

The Cyclical Nature of Learning Something.

Alright, let's dive into something we've all experienced but probably never really thought about: the way we learn new stuff.

Mechanically complex tasks are often difficult to perform to a masterful level in the beginning. As a novice, you have to repeat something countless times before the muscle memory has been formed.

When you're a kid you learned to the ride a bike. From falling off a bike with training wheels, to blazing around with them on, to taking them off and not being able to go a foot, all the way to finally being able to ride and even jump off curbs. Yet, for things that are not mechanical many expect something to click on the first go 'round.

Ever felt like you "got" something, only to realize later that you had it all wrong? It's not you losing your mind; it's actually part of the learning cycle. You see, grasping a concept often requires encountering it in different forms.

You know the sensation.. You do something and then just a few days or months later you realize that you knew better. You had gained this piece of knowledge before, but it hadn't been hammered into a solid constant.

Like that bike ride – from training wheels to cruising to curb-jumping – it's the different iterations that solidify our understanding. Learning a key piece of wisdom or skill often requires repeated instances in slightly different forms as you evolve.

But, learning requires this process whether it be a physical or mental task. Whether it is a mechanical action or a mental understanding, it takes time to fully comprehend and utilize.

As one becomes more familiar with the experience they are faced with the introduction of new concepts. Forced to re-evaluate their understanding of the world, ones skills and ideals shift to take on a new shape.

Like a plot twist in a movie, everything shifts just as you think you've got it all figured out. Bam! Your perception takes on an entirely new and evolved form.

Think about it: as you get better at riding that bike, suddenly you're introduced to tricks, gears, maybe even different types of terrain. Learning's a lot like that – it keeps evolving. Your skills, beliefs, and perspectives shift as you adapt to the new stuff. It's not linear; it's a cycle that keeps spinning.

This only stops when you stop making mistakes and improving. You are human though, you will always make mistakes. The only thing that can truly stop you from learning is a refusal to acknowledge the weakness of your previous experiences.

Sharing Wisdom in Digital Media is Delicate

Today, the younger generations of western society spend a vast amount of time consuming digital media. Whether it's Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube or one of the countless others, you seldom find a young-adult that is not spending at least a couple of hours on their device a day.

Collapsing under a near parasocial relationship hundreds of thousands of young adults pour hours into consuming the proclaimed knowledge of title-only experts. With self-ordained authority, the audience of a large amount of content listens as they hear a American Dream Saint repeat the hopeful words they have always dreamed of:

"Do X and get Y! It's so easy anyone can do it"

With light in their eyes they closely watch and note each detail as the host shares the unnuanced knowledge they are presenting. Yet, as the video draws on the watcher comes to realize that as the complexity and reality of the thought settles in it is never actually as easy as the video made it seem.

With the itemized list of things to do and the expectation to get the same or even just similar results, many run down the barrel of a dream that is destined to fail before they ever watched the video.

For millions of years, man has relied on the earned wisdom of those before to improve the way of future lives. From the smallest of things to the biggest. Knowledge passed on from one generation to the next has been a critical piece of human life since the dawn of man.

Yet, today we have diverged from the capability of discourse. Stepping away from the act of personal conversation and capabilities humans have transcended with the help of no-input media consumption. No-input media has only recently take a strong foothold in modern history.

With the rise of Ambient Media and the never ending feeds-to-scroll of your favorite digital media, there is no longer any barrier to your preferred entertainment. There is no action to take beyond sit back, glaze your eyes, and consume, consume, consume. Driving the views ever-up consumers descend into an increasingly granular audience that most delicately targets their interest with pinpoint accuracy.

Views become entrenched. Beliefs become solid. The brain... is no longer malleable.

Consuming video after video the watcher feels as if they are forming a more concrete understanding.

  • Learn math, without solving math problems.
  • Learn software development, without writing code.
  • Learn how to be a welder, without welding.

Every single skill in life requires honing. Even things that appear incredibly simple will immediately show to be more complicated than a simple switch to flip.

  • To dice a vegetable.
  • To water your plants.
  • To fold a paper plane.

It's comical to acknowledge and consider sometimes. But with no-input media it is simpler for the watcher to forget this. To feel as if the time invested into consuming one-sided content has resulted in an increase in the baseline ability. Generally, it is quite the opposite. Rather than improving their ability to perform the skill at even a laughably bad level, one has simply raised their upward capacity.

Even if one watches tens of hours of videos of how to do something, it will take a few times to get right and many more to get perfect.

You are not an expert even if you have watched thousands of videos. You are not an expert if you have talked about something thousands of times. The only thing that can make you an expert is time spent improving your skill through active participation.

As the density of ones digital dive grows, one is sure to assimilate experiences, beliefs and perspective. Though, with a one-dimensional display, the viewer is left to make assumptions and fill in the gaps. Without any capability to rectify their lacking clarity and understanding the watcher is left to struggle and remain willfully ignorant of their lacking capability or acknowledge it with explicit awareness.

Sent on their way at just the flick or click of a finger the viewer departs from the content often without a second thought in mind. On to find the next thing to satisfy the need for dopamine.

Robbed of Mistakes

Now, here's where things get a bit concerning. This whole cyclical learning process has a darker side – one that affects the younger generations in ways we might not have fully realized. It's like they're being robbed of some seriously important experiences that shape their growth, both professionally and personally.

Sure, there are always those daring souls who dive headfirst into challenges, ready to face whatever comes their way. But let's be real, there's a whole bunch of folks who don't share that enthusiasm. When faced with something that seems even remotely difficult, they often back away, citing their inability to handle it. It's like they've been convinced they can't do it even before giving it a fair shot.

Studies have shown that the resilience of younger generations has been on a rapid decline. They're less likely to take risks, explore new things, or push their boundaries. This decline in resilience can be attributed, in part, to the ease of access to information and the instant gratification provided by digital media. Instead of embracing challenges and learning from their mistakes, some young people shy away from difficulties and miss out on the opportunities that come with facing them head-on.

Without ever having the experiences themselves, the fear of failure has intensified among younger generations. Like a member of the audience in a race, they can do little but clench their teeth as the cars whip around the turn at 140mph. The fear of making mistakes, coupled with the desire for instant gratification, leads to a mindset that avoids challenges and prioritizes quick and easy solutions.

As if they have been taught personal growth is the same as touching a hot burner, the hand is quickly yanked back in an effort to escape any of the displeasure of making mistakes and learning from them.

But, by shying away from challenges and avoiding situations where mistakes might occur, many are missing out on learning valuable life skills – skills that come from making mistakes, adapting, and learning from failures...

Essential experiences replaced with a 10 minute YouTube video.

The Nature of The Beast

While it's easy to see this as just a natural part of learning, did you know that you can actually harness its power and turn it into a weapon? Yep, you heard me right. The very cycle that helps us learn and adapt can be transformed into a powerful tool for personal growth and success.

Think of it this way: if you can accept that learning is an ongoing cycle, you're already ahead of the game. Embracing the fact that you'll make mistakes, learn from them, and improve is a game-changer. Instead of fearing failure, you can use it as a stepping stone to success.

Remember that decline in resilience we mentioned earlier? Well, here's where things get exciting. By consciously harnessing the cyclical nature of learning, you're actually building resilience. When you understand that mistakes are just part of the process, you become more willing to take risks and face challenges. Each mistake becomes a lesson, and each lesson propels you forward.

It's okay to fail because that means you've moved closer to finding the success and mastery you urge for.

Here's the secret weapon: setbacks can become your springboards. When you encounter obstacles or make mistakes, it's not a dead end – it's an opportunity to bounce back even stronger. This shift in mindset turns you into a powerhouse that welcomes change. You're no longer held back by fear or hesitation; you're propelled by the knowledge that every setback is just a stepping stone.

Let's take a look at some real-world examples:

  • Innovation and Invention: Many groundbreaking inventions and innovations came from failures and mistakes. Think about Thomas Edison and his numerous attempts before creating the light bulb. Each "failure" was a lesson that brought him closer to success.

  • Business and Entrepreneurship: Successful entrepreneurs often encounter failures on their journey. But instead of giving up, they learn from these failures, adapt their strategies, and eventually achieve their goals. It's like using failure as a blueprint for success.

  • Personal Growth: Think about your personal life – the times you stumbled and learned important life lessons. These experiences shape you, make you more resilient, and ultimately contribute to your personal growth.

When things don't go as planned, adapt your approach instead of giving up. Pivot your strategies based on what you've learned. Failure isn't the end; it's a stepping stone on the path to success.

Failing Forward is Annoying (to Others)

Failing forward can be downright annoying to others. Yup, you read that right. But before you grab your pitchforks, let's unpack why this happens and why having the ability to positively reframe failures, mistakes, and being wrong is an incredibly powerful skill that not everyone possesses.

Ever noticed how some people get a little uncomfortable when you take a failure in stride and bounce back with even more determination? It's like they're wondering, "Wait, why aren't they upset or discouraged?"

Well, that's the envy factor at play. When you show that you're unfazed by failures, it can trigger envy in others who might not have mastered the art of failing forward.

Picture this: in a world where complaining about failures is the norm, you come along and break that pattern. You see failures as opportunities and setbacks as stepping stones. But here's the kicker – not everyone gets it. Your ability to positively reframe failures can be confusing to those who are used to the old "cry over spilled milk" routine.

Now, here's where things get seriously powerful. Having the skill to positively reframe failures, mistakes, and being wrong isn't just annoying to others; it's a game-changer for you. By reframing failures as chances to learn and grow, you're building resilience and adaptability. You're taking control of your narrative and shaping your own path.

Let's face it – negativity surrounds us. It's easy to get swept up in a wave of complaints, blame, and excuses when things don't go as planned. But when you choose to reframe failures in a positive light, you're like a lighthouse guiding others through the stormy sea of negativity. Your approach becomes a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration.

Positively reframingexternal linkexternal link failures isn't about ignoring reality; it's about owning your journey. It's about understanding that setbacks are part of the process and choosing to use them as stepping stones to success. By doing this, you're not only inspiring others but also showing them that they too have the power to reshape their perspective.

So, when you fail forward and positively reframe your experiences, you're doing more than annoying those around you. You're inspiring change. You're challenging the status quo and inviting others to see failures as opportunities for growth. You're showcasing a mindset that's not bound by limitations but driven by the endless potential of what's possible.

Failing forward might ruffle a few feathers, but that's because you're breaking the mold. You're not settling for the norm of complaining and blaming; you're rising above it. By mastering the art of positively reframing failures, mistakes, and being wrong, you're wielding a powerful skill that has the potential to transform your life and the lives of those around you. So keep annoying the naysayers, keep embracing failure, and keep shining that light of positivity – because that's how you spark real change and growth.