The Joy Of Understanding

The Joy Of Understanding

Developing any skill has different levels or stages that are essential stepping stones to achievement. When we begin, before the hesitation or nerves kick in, we often feel like we are ready to commit to this new endeavour whole heartedly.

Often, there are books, classes or tutorials to be purchased. We want to have the whole series at our finger tips to ensure that there is no stopping our progress once we begin. In our minds, we are committed, ready and eager to see the results.

After the initial investment has been made, we often feel like we have already been successful in the start of our new challenge. We jump in head first and then sit back and bask in our dedication and accomplishment. But something happens…

We may take the time to read the first book, attend the first class or watch the first tutorial and that can be encouraging. We choose to plow ahead and jump right in to the next steps because our need to collect the information quickly is greater than our desire to follow the steps as it was intended. We pride ourselves on how fast we went through the material, but if we are honest to ourselves, did we really embrace it?

Have you ever read through a textbook without doing the exercises? Have you ever taken a class, or watched a tutorial without taking the time to apply the lesson and test your understanding of the things you learned?

What we need to understand is that the concept of achievement is not always the same as understanding. Have you ever felt that you are perceived as being knowledgable on a subject because of the certification you have obtained, but at the same time, never really felt like you have a true understanding or mastery of the concepts? 

Too often, our need to accelerate our efforts in order to reach the end of a course quickly dictates how we process information.

What we don’t factor in, or allow for, is the challenges or hiccups we will encounter along the way. When that happens, we become discouraged and begin to doubt our abilities. This can have a negative impact on our state of mind and truly stall or halt our progress.

If we take a look at this concept, we find that our frustration is not due to the challenges we have encountered, but rather the stress or anxiety we develop because our need to reach the end of our program of study too quickly then becomes the focus, rather than the pride and confidence we feel by achieving the steps thoroughly, truly valuing understanding over the ‘certification’ of knowledge.

To demonstrate an example from my own life, I have recently gotten back into learning how to play the guitar. 

The guitar has been a challenging instrument for me to learn. Most of my attempts have resulted in me eventually setting it aside and not revisiting it again for long periods of time. I made the decision to take some lessons for a while and as I embraced the concepts I was taught and made the commitment to following a focused and dedicated practice routine, I began to see results and an increased sense of confidence and encouragement as my understanding grew.

Circumstances in my life forced me to have to stop lessons for a while to focus on other things and as often happens in these cases, the guitar got set aside for a while. This time though, I made a choice. I decided that what was most important to me was to continue my progress and be encouraged by the results rather than feel defeated over the potential delay in reaching the goals I set.

I had begun working out of a guitar method book series that is very challenging. This method book is the first in a series of three and in the past, I would have gone out and bought all three books right away with the determination that I was going to complete them all quickly.

The approach I decided to take this time, was rather than jump all in, buy all three books and then feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work I had ahead of me, I chose to slow down, embrace the concepts, and stay dedicated to the book I had in front of me. It took a while but as I achieved results through focused practice and dedication, my skills improved slowly, but my understanding was much deeper and my time was much better invested.

I made the choice this time to stay on course and not rush to the finish line. I also made the decision to reward myself for the successful completion of the first book by not purchasing the second book in the series until after the first one was done.

The sense of pride I had obtained from finishing the first level at the pace that was right for me was incredible and the joy I had ordering and receiving the second book in the series was amazing. My progress continues and the commitment and dedication I have made to this has been rewarded.

Stay on track. Stay enthusiastic but don’t overwhelm yourself. Reward the small steps and celebrate the victories of achievements, but remember that certification of knowledge is meaningless without the joy of understanding.

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