Saturday, 4 October 2014

Lessons Learnt: Learning Something New

There are certain things in life we learn from doing and certain things we learn from other people's experience. Unlike school subjects or college classes, the topics of these lessons aren't specifically disclosed. You have to know which lesson to learn and which wisdom to take out of it all. One of the things you can do to become a successful person in life is to acknowledge the lessons you've learnt and, if possible, share them with other people. Sharing knowledge, as opposed to popular belief, can actually make you smarter, wiser and a better person. Plus, it can be so much fun! Here's to lessons learnt and me sharing them with you.

Ever since I was a little girl, my parents have taught me to keep learning. They bought me encyclopedias, pointed me towards educational TV programmes, supported my language skills and showed me the world. Even now I still get pointers and help from my Dad to learn new things. When I was little, I was certain I wouldn't have to learn anymore once I graduated high school - or college. But I was wrong. There doesn't need to be an end to learning and knowledge will always evolve. And, unlike school - which can put so much pressure on our ability to learn -, gaining knowledge in the real world can actually be quite enjoyable and useful. I really love being able to do new things after learning to do them first. And here's what I've learnt from learning.

Age Is But a Number

The first thing to remember upon learning new things - no matter what they are - is that your age doesn't matter. You might think, "Oh, I'd love to learn that but I'm too old to learn." Guess what? You're not! If you want to learn something, you go ahead and do it. If you want it so badly and don't have the time, make time! Trust me, if you're motivated enough to do it, it will happen for you. But nobody could make it happen to you but yourself. Let people talk and tell you that you're too old, that the train has left years ago, but you should know that that's not true. Also, just because you've reached a certain age doesn't mean that you should stop learning. Lessons rain down on you everyday, whether you asked for them or not. The only thing you can do is acknowledge them. Well, you could also leave them and learn nothing but it will be such a huge loss. There is also no such thing as being too young to learn something so don't be afraid to start - except probably how to handle a scotch or drive a car, as per the law.

Motivation Is Key

Learning new things can be quite tricky. Don't expect yourself to be good at it when you've just started. You will make mistakes and you will hit dead ends. And when you do, it could prove to be quite difficult to keep yourself in the learning process. You might want to just call it quits and throw in the towel. This is when you need to remind yourself of your motivations. Different methods work for different people: some people need their friends to give them support, some others prefer setting themselves certain goals and the rest might be all about the milestones. Personally, I'm a milestone kind of gal. When I start trying to learn to do something, I usually do it from the bottom of my heart, i.e. making gifts for my loved ones. It's so much easier to stick through until the end when I can imagine how awful I would feel, not being able to gift them my creations.

In school, especially, motivation doesn't come easy upon learning the subjects. Students are pressured to master all the subjects they take in school, despite them not liking some or even most of them. But, if you think of it as a rite of passage and you just need to get through with it then you will never have to deal with them again, you might be at least a little bit motivated. If that doesn't work, find at least one or more friend(s) in each class and, even when you don't like the subject, you will look forward to seeing them and studying together. Yep, friendship does help.

Mistakes Are Good

As I said before, starting in learning something new isn't all sunshine and rainbows. We are all bound to make mistakes. That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's good! You make mistakes and you work through them. If you can fix them yourself, you fix them. Otherwise, ask for help. Either way, you will learn that what you did was a mistake and make sure that you won't do it again. If you make another mistake, the same rule applies. Even if you make the same mistake twice, you probably learn how to fix it too so you will be able to handle it the next time to do it. Mistakes are part of the learning process, just like falling off a bike is part of learning how to ride it. It hurts and you might get a scratch but you will learn not to fall the next time. Don't trust me? Okay, here. Look at the scarf above. Gorgeous, no? Guess what? That was my third try! It will get better and you will learn from your mistakes. So keep making them and learn to fix them!

Don't Be Afraid to Ask

Who do you think you are if you learn to do something and not want to ask anyone for help? If you have someone close to you who you know can help, please ask them. It's a huge advantage to be able to have someone help you figure things out and fix your mistakes. Not everyone has that and you should make use of your faculties. You can learn by making mistakes, sure. But what if you can't fix them? Ask someone! There's no harm in that. More often than not, they will teach you anyway. Ask everything! So ask 'something stupid', they won't laugh at you. They were once in our shoes too, they know we're still learning. This also applies if you want to learn something but aren't sure if you can do it alone and ask someone to teach you firsthand or to learn with you. Of course, don't force anyone to do something they don't want to. Ask nicely and be humble. We are all only humans here.

Keep an Open Mind

As opposed to experts, being a newbie you don't have it all quite figured out yet. That's not such a bad thing. Because you don't have your mind all set yet, you can still open it to different possibilities, techniques and methods. Don't get stuck in one tutorial or be so Gung Ho about one method. Try as many things as possible and see which ones work best with you. That's the beauty of learning, you're keeping an entirely open mind and your mind has yet to have its final form in regards of whatever it is that you're learning to do. Use that advantage! Don't be afraid to mix things up. Some tutorials tell you to do certain methods because they're the ones the writers are used to or good at. That doesn't mean it's the same for you and that's okay. Search up another method more to your liking. It'll turn out just as great.

I'm a true believer of limitless knowledge. There is no limit to when you should stop learning or to how much you can learn in a lifetime. So don't be afraid to try. We have the internet on our side now. Learning is made easier, like, ten thousand more times than it was, say, 10 years ago. We are privileged with tons of chances as well as possibilities, so why not take advantage? In fact, it would be such a shame and such a waste not to. And, if possible, share your knowledge with those around you who might be less privileged. I'm sure they would appreciate it.

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