Don’t make that rule!

I’m terrible at names!

I can’t count!

It will all go well if I remember to do it.

If I could just _________________ then I’d be successful.

Those are all rules that we tell ourselves. There is nothing in your make-up that will keep you from remembering names, counting (in music…), or remembering to do something important. Those “if” statements make the assumption that you don’t have the ability to do what needs to be done. You don’t have the creativity or the resourcefulness to achieve what you want.

When did we stop thinking?

Why do we need to be told what and how to do everything? Yes, I understand that you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but what if you did? Do you know they have tractors with tracks now?

Why didn’t they just start with that? Why did they change from regular wheels? Someone said, “I don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” and while he was guffawing, someone else did, and it sold! Why can’t we use all the knowledge and experience we’ve accumulated to live life differently?

I think it’s because of the “Empty Brain” assumption. Do you really have to teach your baby to play? Do you really have to assume that children have no curiosity and no desire to learn new things after they have 200 words in their vocabulary? My brother, Joe, was told by his 2nd-grade teacher that the person with the longest spelling word would get a prize. He chose: (takes a deep breath) antidisestablishmentarianism for his 2nd-grade word. Yes. So why would we assume that there’s an “age-appropriate” list of words? Age has nothing to do with curiosity.

But wait! Curiosity killed the cat! No, it didn’t. Why do curious cats have 9 lives and the rest of us only have 1? Has it occurred to anyone that cats might have 9 lives BECAUSE they’re curious? When was the last time you saw little kids in the park just playing? When was the last time you went for a walk in the woods with a little kid and they asked a million questions and stopped to watch a bug? Have you seen little kids make up games with their stuffed toys and dolls and a weird stick and a hedge apple? No? Is that because it’s not a real game unless there are uniforms, coaches, equipment, and stands for the parents? Kids can have fun without their parents’ help.

But do we, as adults, play? Only if there are uniforms and equipment and a cheering section? Imagine going for a game of golf and having to have a traveling team to accompany you on every hole. Then imagine that you have to have a specific uniform that distinguishes you from the rest of the people in your foursome. Silly, isn’t it? I realize that bowling teams are competitive, but when you go bowling, you don’t have to play with a team every time. Church League softball is organized, but do you ever play pick-up games? How about basketball? None of us more “mature” folks would be caught dead in a basketball uniform or fit into a football uniform. But we insist that our kids do. Why do adults play? Enjoyment. camaraderie, exercise. Why do kids play? They’re learning stuff!

When adults play, it is an attempt at resourcefulness and creativity. That’s why people get involved in the arts. Music is with you your whole life. Sports go away when the joints and muscles give out. Although, I’ve been seeing 100-year-old competitors in Senior races! Painting, sculpture, and pottery allow people to see in 2 and 3 dimensions. Hobby-type arts such as textiles: spinning, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, counted cross-stitching, crewel, blackwork, sewing and quilting, costume design…the list goes on and on. Then there are the board games…all 10 million of them. But why, oh why are creativity and resourcefulness relegated to activities other than work? And then, why are creative and resourceful activities so structured for children? We dull our imaginations and then attempt to dull or irradicate imagination from the children. What madness is this?

When children are left to their own devices, they design games; they make up the rules; they determine the number of players; they choose the playing field; they choose the medium and the equipment. We used to play cops and robbers, Cowboys and Indians (and in that game, the Indians won at least 1/2 the time!), Nazis and Allies (yes, I’m that old). Side note: I grew up with Palladin and Gunsmoke, McHale’s Navy and Combat, so… We had to solve problems, get along, and use our imaginations. We did plays and recitals. We played school. We had art exhibits. Our parents’ cupboards were filled with our designs. Our parents didn’t assign us activities. We played piano because everyone in our house played. We chose band instruments because everyone in our house did. We even had a family band that played for festivals in the church.

Let Kids Play. Get out of the way! They’ll learn faster and love the experience. They won’t get into the habit of making rules for how they live their lives and limiting their accomplishments and their dreams. They do not have an empty brain even when they’re just born. Everything is noticed and captured in their little heads and by the time they’re 4 or 5, they have learned the equivalent of a Ph.D. in “kidness”. Starting school, they bring their love of learning and experiencing new things with them. Then it gets squashed. They are admonished for being daydreamers, for coloring outside the lines, for making up rules as they go. Conform, don’t think! That is the opposite of what we want them to do! Without those rules, the words, “I can’t” will not be part of their vocabulary. We need people like that.

Don’t make those rules, and don’t impose those rules on the kids!

What if…

What if the “you” of the future came back in time to change something and you don’t remember what it was?

You know all those situations where they posit what they’d do if they could go anywhere in time and make a change? I’d go back and kill Hitler! I’d move the people from Pompeii before the mountain blew up! I’d give the indigenous people WMDs to fight off the invaders from Europe, and a vaccine for smallpox. Grand assumptions.

But what if, in your travel backward through time, all your present knowledge is lost because it hasn’t happened yet? How would you know what to change? We look at pivotal moments in history and say to ourselves, “That was a pivotal moment in History! Why didn’t anyone recognize it as such?!” It’s hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame.

We know that actions have consequences! That’s a foregone conclusion. Think of all the actions that are happening at once here in this time. Which ones will be pivotal? What influence do you have on current circumstances? What if you are the only one capable of averting a disaster, and you don’t know you’re it? Where does that leave the rest of us? What if there are a lot of pivotal moments and some are ignored because they seem secondary?

Take a look at what sparked WWI…the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. What if all the rest of the pivotal moments had been countered and this one didn’t seem important enough to change the outcome? The problem gets compounded by decision paralysis. How many sparks does it take to start a fire? Ask the firefighters in California! If you have thousands of little sparks, and you try to douse all of them individually, you may miss one–or 10 or 50… So, you drop tons of water to catch all of them and assume it’s taken care of and one little burning leaf floats down on the ONLY spot the water didn’t hit. Conflagration!

You may have heard the saying, “Success leaves clues.” The obverse is also true. “Disaster leaves clues.” If, like me, you love crime procedural shows, you’ll know that Not All Information you discover is a clue, and you may not find all the clues you need to come to a conclusion. You have to become adept at looking at the information you have at hand and deciding if it may be a clue to future situations. If you continuously put garbage where you can’t see it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone won’t find it. What’s that funny smell? Why are all the bugs going in that direction? Was that a rat? Where’s my favorite t-shirt? And my favorite… Where’s that annoying neighbor that complained about the smell?

In order to recognize impending disaster, you have to understand what the myriad of causes of disaster looks like. How do you do that? Oh…study history. But that doesn’t mean names, dates, and places. It has to be an integrated look. X happened in the year YYYY, while Z was the leader. What was the climate like? Were there droughts or floods or a blizzard? What was the economy like? Who was trading with whom? Who didn’t have water access? Who had to cross mountains? What was the housing like? What was the employment picture? What was going on with the culture? How was the language affected? What was happening on the religious front? What effect did the politics have on the situation?

Was any of this information taught in school when you learned it? Probably not! What were the medical, geographical, geological, and biological sciences doing at the time? Do we need to know that? OF COURSE!

Are you curious now? So if you had been sent back to this time to determine the future by making one change, what would it be?

How Do you Learn?

We’re about to embark on a trip through the wilderness that is education. The trails that we know are well-traveled, but they may not be the most direct and effective path.

Socrates said:
I cannot teach anyone anything. I can only make them think.
After you have become accustomed to something, how often do you think about it?

Imagine you’ve just been born. You suddenly have all these new senses coming at you. PANIC! You are wet and getting cold. You have a sudden instinct to suck this cold dry stuff into the lungs you didn’t know you had. The sounds you were comfortable with are no longer filtered through a fluid and are much louder and harsher than you could ever imagine. Your movements are not restricted. You no longer hear Mom’s heartbeat. They clean you off and put you near your mom and she holds you close, and you begin to warm up. She may sing to you or speak softly to you, and you recognize the sound and you become less frightened. You don’t think about breathing anymore because now it seems to be automatic. You are not at all in control of your body, and it makes weird sounds and gives you weird feelings. But it doesn’t take long for you to start to recognize things.

You become accustomed to how you eat, how you breathe, and how you relieve yourself. You get more comfortable with the sounds you hear, the movement of your limbs, the feel of your clothing, and the area around where you lie. This is carpet, this is a playpen, this is grass, this is a blanket.

When you walk, do you have to concentrate on which foot to move and how? You do after surgery, and it’s weird because now you have to concentrate on what makes your leg move. How does it feel when it’s right? What did you do to make it feel right? What compensating behaviors do you use to remediate the weakened muscles and the feel of the new hip or knee in action? Now, if you continue your compensating behaviors, your “new” walk includes a limp and may misalign your back! You have practiced getting from A to B but not in the walking process. The end, in this case—getting from A to B, does NOT justify the means. You have gotten the mechanics of badly walking perfected. Was that what you were aiming for? You might want to check out Monty Python’s minister of silly walks. You have effectively trained your body to accept something that will ultimately cause you pain and wear down your bones causing more surgery.

How often do we do that? Not much, you say? HA! Let’s return to the baby again. Do you remember Sweet Pea in the Popeye cartoons? He wore a one-piece baby garment like a nightshirt. How about Maggie from the Simpsons? I babysat one little girl whose parents put her in the one-piece nighty. When she crawled, she would inevitably put her knee on the inside of the nighty, and it would cause her to bang her head on the ground. She learned that to get around, she had to do a worm-like movement with a foot kick. She managed to pop off all the buttons on the front. She then transferred that movement when she graduated to little-girl clothes. One of my kids scooted on his seat. Another one pushed himself backward under the furniture. Another just rolled into place. Obviously, that is physical movement. None of these kids remember doing that now. They don’t have to because they walk.

People learn behaviors, thinking processes, self-images, and speech patterns and then use them, right or wrong, in every situation they find themselves in. They make rules for themselves.

  • I can’t remember names.
  • I can’t be on time.
  • I could never drive on the left side of the road.

There is nothing but their beliefs that keeps them from remembering names, being on time, or driving on the left side of the road. Why would you make a rule like that?

Think about that for a while.

We tend to learn what we must, put it in a box, and never explore any other options. The biggest progress we make is when we UNLEARN how we thought we learned.

How many of you use a modern hand-operated can opener?

Do you see that little shelf below the cutting wheels? Did you know that was designed to go on top of the can, not the side? The little grooves in the top of the can act as a guide for that little shelf and keep the opener from coming off the edge. It does tend to get paper stuck in the gears and that would encourage people to use it incorrectly with the shelf on the side of the can. So many use it incorrectly now that I bet this little diatribe is brand new to you. Using it correctly is much less frustrating, but since Mom had us open cans, and Grandma did it the same way, we’ve come to the conclusion that the incorrect way is the only way. We’d have to UNLEARN how to use the can opener.

We make the same assumptions when we learn things and when we teach things. We assume that since some brainiac came up with teaching children at little desks all in rows with students of similar age, watching the teacher spout her wisdom and give her examples, that this is the only way to teach. We also assume that all children should learn at the same speed and in the same way. How would you present material to audio-centric learners differently than how you’d present the same material to visual-centric learners? How could you ensure that these children would remember this material? Why would we assume that blind children have only the audio sense available to them and deaf children would only have only the visual sense available? We all have five senses, so wouldn’t it be probable that we would use more than one sense to learn something?

When we discover that the actual material we teach is not as important as the process of discovery and curiosity that we instill in our charges, then we’re actually teaching. It is in the development of self-awareness and situational awareness that the students learn how to teach themselves. This is the long-term goal of any teacher—to make life-long learners. And the first step is to actively think into everything we do.

Why is it important to learn?

Take a look at what you’re planning to learn. If it is because it sparks interest or your curiosity keeps bringing you back, there is a deep-seated need in your subconscious that compels you to learn this. This would be the curiosity-based learning.

If you are highly motivated to learn something because you see it as a gateway to a better life, it is a conscious decision that drives you in that direction. Intentional learning is not like the casual learning you achieve by just existing. It is delving into the unfamiliar! And yet…

In the article, “Where do you start?” that I wrote previously, my premise is that nobody starts from 0. You have read material, watched recordings, experimented, compared, and thought about this new area of study. It’s like someone saying, “I want to introduce you to the color purple.” The images filling your head are fast and furious. Rainbows, flowers, hair ties, shirts, hundreds of shades and hues.

My question is this: Why do you think learning this particular skill or area of study will improve your life?

  1. It may be the collection of information that can be used in bigger projects.
  2. It may be a perspective that allows you to compare other unrelated fields.
  3. It may be the process of learning that is more important than the material or skill itself.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you learn the material just to move from your current situation to another situation, it is prescribed. It is short-term memory that will disappear after the certificate is issued or the test is taken. This is NOT what this course is about. If you just want to pass a test and be done with it, unsubscribe.

BUT if you want to genuinely get into this new skill or this new area of study, and you want to make use of it for the rest of your life, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is what transformational learning is all about. This will immerse you into experiential learning that involves every layer of gray matter you possess. The material, the skill, the insight, the perspective, and the experience will serve you in all the areas of your life.

For instance: When I learned Bach’s Prelude in C, I learned it without having seen the music. I had to learn by recognizing patterns, seeing progressions, understanding transitions, discovering the form and the function of each phrase. I learned it when I was nine years old. Now, nearly sixty years later, it’s still rattling around in my brain. I can see the patterns in Bach, Beethoven, and the Beatles. I appreciate form and function in architecture. I hear and see balance and symmetry in poetry and gymnastics and woodworking. I can now appreciate roundabouts and speech design due to my study of transitions. I cannot fathom why I wouldn’t continue to want that prelude popping up in my head.

If this is your intent, you’re in for an amazing ride. What we will cover in this course will give you the experiential learning you crave and a process for furthering your studies into any direction, any area of study, any physical/mental/spiritual skill you desire for the rest of your life.

Why do you want to learn?

There are two types of learning. There’s the experiential learning that you do in the course of living. You learn to walk, talk, and solve problems that allow you to do bigger things. You know that tired cliché, “You learn something new every day?” It’s true. I learned something about lawn mowers, air filters, oil, and my son’s temper today. I’ve picked up on weather “tells” and how to care for my tomato garden. I’ve learned about some cooking tips, some behavioral traits of dogs, how to get along with extroverts. I’m sure you have some random things you’ve learned by just existing.

The other kind of learning is prescribed. You go to school to learn to write and spell and figure. You study what someone else determines is essential in becoming a responsible adult. Some of the material you might see as frivolous, useless, or unnecessary. Some you might consider priceless, critical, and fascinating. But in our current educational program, you rarely get a chance to choose what you want to learn.

I had a friend who hated science of any kind. She hated the math, she hated the formulas, she hated poking frogs. She took a general science class in High School. She had nothing but disdain for all the subjects covered except one: geography. She loved the landscapes and how the formations affected the farming community. She was fascinated by conservation techniques. It amazed her in studying the biospheres how humans could occupy so many of them while some plants, animals, and insects were restricted to a twenty-square mile area in a remote location and could not be transplanted anywhere else. But she only got to study geography for a month or so. She didn’t have the option of learning more in school. Two years later, she majored in geography in college. What did she do during those two years before college? She devoured everything she could on the subject. This is intentional learning. This is learning based on experience in a class that sparked her curiosity. This additional learning was not prescribed by anyone.

The reason she learned all that the library had to offer on the subject was because it captured her imagination and she could see herself involved in geography as a lifelong quest. It called to her.

It’s the reason I keep going back to my music–it calls to me. The sounds, the combinations, the expression of feelings beyond what words can reveal, those things pull me back into composition, learning new instruments, experimenting, and appreciating music.

Experiential learning is seen in the working world as internships, apprenticeships, practice teaching, or shadowing. In the financial field, for instance, you must pass some licensing tests to be able to solicit business. There are two types of students: the kind who studied for the tests by reading and re-reading the material that would be covered, and the kind who read the material and then go into the field with an experienced representative. Those who proceed into the field read contracts, look at portfolios, study the strategies and the tactics of the finances already in place, discuss the risk tolerance and the goals of the client. They come back to the office armed with a plethora of information and a feel for what the client wants. They must use all the material they’d studied, integrate the information provided by the field agent and the paperwork they’ve brought back. This actually makes it easier to pass the test than just studying the books.

Usually, and I don’t have statistics on this, experiential learning is curiosity-based. The reason you are pursuing this information is to use it in the marketplace or in the world. It isn’t just to be stored in a box in your garage or donated to charity after you’re done. The retention rate on experiential learning is vastly different than prescribed learning simply because it calls to you and you put all that information and experience in a “place” where you can access it easily.

Do you have something that calls to you? We can explore that together!

When are you finished?

This is a tricky question. It’s one that most don’t even consider. I wish to learn Italian. That seems a bit vague. To what degree do you want to know this language? Common conversation? Publishing a book in the new language? Studying the literature of the country? Understanding what the waiter is saying under his breath?

The best way to set a goal is to set a success milestone. “I will be successful when…” statements give you the parameters. “I will be successful with my violin lessons when I pass the audition to the local orchestra.” “I will be successful giving a speech when I can give the toast at my best friend’s wedding without fainting and sounding like a goof.” “I will be successful in this math class when I get a B on the final test in Differential Equations.”

Some of these success statements come with a timeline–the professor isn’t going to reschedule the final test around your readiness. The orchestra auditions are time-bound as well. The wedding date is set. I will be successful at learning Italian when I can speak, hear and read the language on our visit. Well, it’s COVID. Nobody knows when you’re going to go back to Italy. You will need to set a time limit if there isn’t one intrinsically specified in your success statement. You cannot set a time limit based on the performance of other people. Statements like these are assigning a goal and a time line for you:

  • You should finish the test in four hours.
  • You should drop 2 pounds per week.
  • You should be able to finish a chapter every 2-3 days.

Your progress is your own and it depends on how you learn. Visual learners have problems learning by auditory means. Kinesthetic learners are challenged by desks. Auditory learners should never put together toys for Christmas. So How you learn, how consistent you are in the process, how much time you commit, your distractions, your availability of resources, your familiarity with the jargon and abbreviations…all those things affect your timeline. Take a look at your project, choose a success parameter, then make a tentative guess at the time line you wish to pursue. If it doesn’t fit your circumstances, make adjustments.

I will help you figure out your success parameter, and help you develop your timeline.

When do you start?

You’ve heard there’s no time like the present. That’s a cliché we have become so used to that we take it for granted. Start NOW! Why now? Why not?

Let’s take the first instance–Now. Now is a great time to make the commitment. What that does is to begin the journey. When you make that commitment to not just dip your toe in, you start a process.

Now you look at what you’re trying to accomplish and set your deadline. We’re not talking about a vague deadline like “sometime before my kids get too old,” or “when I get my bonus,” or “when these circumstances change.” That is not specific enough and the timeline will have no meaning. There are too many variables.

Let me wander a bit. I was doing a research project for a predictive graph relating to innovation in the market. The article I was reading was quite compelling! The writer’s premise was this: When someone explores advanced communication devices, they have to do all the work in the technology, the hardware, the software, the applications, etc. After the debut, many other companies or countries jump on the bandwagon, and each will make some adjustment that will make the project more efficient, with cleaner lines, or more powerful. How fast do they approach the innovator’s market share?

The writer then provided graphs to prove his point. He included some basic data points, then kept adding and adding. When he was done, the statistical error of the graph was approaching five percent. This meant that the correlation between the causes and effects could be off by 5% either above or below the predicted value. Consequently, when the difference between the innovator and his first competitor was two percent, the error percentage nullified his hypothesis. He had too much information–too many variables–and the graph had no predictive value at all.

When there are too many variables, you cannot set a specific time, and that affects how much time will be allotted for your learning project. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

Now is a good time to decide on a project and to make a commitment to yourself.

Now is NOT a good time to start the project if you have no idea how long it will take to actually accomplish what you wish to accomplish. Now is NOT a good time if you do not know what materials you will need, how long they take to ship, and when they are available. What if your supplier is under lockdown and cannot get workers to come in and make the materials? What if the book is out of print? What if it takes specialized equipment and you have no idea where to get it? Now is a questionable decision if you cannot carve out the time to consistently work on your project. (Consistency is critical for any learning project!)

By all means, commit to a change, to an expansion of your knowledge, to the acquisition of a new skill or perspective. Do that NOW.

THEN, do your research. What do you need? How long does it take? What prerequisites do I need to fulfill to begin this project? Then you can plan an end date and work backward to set your beginning date. That way when you START your process–when you START to learn, your progress is mappable! Then if you run into snags (and you will) and interruptions (and you will) you still know that there is an endpoint and you’ve planned for all these contingencies. You don’t have to give up on your project because “now you can’t possibly reach your deadline” due to the fact that you know how much time you will need and can make adjustments.

I will show you how to figure out a timeline and how to gauge the length of time this process will take. There’s no time like…

What are your goals?

You want to step out of your box. You want to be seen. You want to be significant.

You want to act instead of react. You want to control your destiny. You do not want to be a victim of circumstance.

You want to explore. You want to grow. You want to become!

Your goals must have a direction and a timeline. For instance, you want to drive to Chicago! You know your starting point, but you have no direction, no route, and no deadline. Could you get to Chicago by way of Florida? Certainly! Could you make the trip in increments? Spend a week in Tampa, a week in Atlanta, two days in St. Louis? Of course. So there may be more to this goal than the destination.

Have you ever considered the idea that the journey itself could be more important than the final destination?

In “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, the objective is to walk the Pacific Rim Trail. That is a very challenging trip, especially for a novice. But the goal wasn’t to get to the end of the trail and jump up and down at the end. In his book, “Walk in the Woods,” Bill Bryson was trying to discover ‘America’ by way of the Appalachian trail. Once again, it wasn’t the end point that was the goal. It was the journey itself–changing a person’s perspective, discovering character, digging deep within oneself to find out what truly matters: becoming more aware of the world and the people around him. To appreciate and be grateful for his circumstances.

Those hikes on the tremendously long and arduous trails were limited by time and weather. But when you decide you want to learn something new, whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual, the only one who can decide if the process is as important as the endpoint is you. The only one with control over the length and the path of the journey is you.

There may be meaningful distractions. There may be temptations to “Call it a day.” There will be ups and downs and all sorts of unforeseen challenges that you either are prepared for or are caught unaware. When I started studying French, I was bewildered by the different genders of the nouns and how to tell which adjectives to use. I was frustrated by the fact that so many words sounded exactly the same and were spelled so differently and had completely diverse meanings! I had to spend more time than I had planned to get the grammar straightened out. Did I have a deadline? Yes. But then Covid came and they cancelled the conference in Paris. I still study, but now it’s not as intense. My deadline is now to finish the basics before the time on the class runs out.

Sit down and think. What do I want? How will I feel when I accomplish this? Will there be other rewards? What’s the worst that can happen? More importantly, what’s the best that can happen? Picture yourself in the process, moving toward your goal, getting better and discovering something new in yourself. Write down your goal with a deadline in a journal, and keep track of your process. You now have a destination and a timeline, and I will show you how to make your path.

Where do you find information?

Most people will think that in order to learn something new to them, they have to find a lecture class. There, the teacher will talk, and the students will take notes, and at the end of the session, there will be a test. Is there any guarantee that you will learn something? No.

If you study like most people, you read your notes, you review your books and materials, you highlight and memorize. How much do you remember after you finish the class? According to the National Training Laboratory, we only retain five percent of what we pick up in a lecture. The only way to keep that information fresh is to keep using it. How many of us are grateful for the test and keep reviewing it after we’ve passed it?

What if you just find all the books you can on a subject and read them and take notes? You are doing the same thing as listening to a lecture, of course, but you are also acclimatizing yourself to the specialized language of whatever you’re studying.

What if you watch experts in the field and follow them around asking questions? Some professionals encourage that. Most would find you really annoying. But there would be some active learning going on because you’d have the impact of the spoken word, watching the process, and attempting it yourself. The more impacts you have on your brain, the more information you’ll retain.

Libraries are a good source of information. Classes where you can ask questions and participate in your learning with experiments and homework are also good sources of information. Videos can be a great source because sometimes the videos can be slowed down and rotated so you can see exactly what the person is doing. If you want to learn a physical skill, videos and classes can be very helpful. Individual mentoring is a great source of practical training. Club memberships provide a chance to practice what you’re learning.

All of these sources of information are good, but if your process is not efficient, your retention will be low. You may remember what you’ve learned for a short time, but soon you will be struggling to use material you don’t remember studying.

I will help you with a process you can use over and over regardless of the type of information you are trying to digest. You see, it’s not the source of the information that will make you successful, it’s the way you process the information that allows you maximum retention. And that’s what you really want, isn’t it?

Where do you start?

How many times have you decided to learn something, found a class, paid your tuition and books and equipment, and attended only to find that the first two or three classes were ineffective?

What do I mean by ineffective? I started a class and the first session, the instructor used so many acronyms and so much jargon that all the material went right over my head. I was mad and frustrated and not sure I could get up to speed before the next class. I took another class where the first fifteen minutes had me snoring because he assumed that nobody in the class knew anything about his subject.

How does the teacher assess the starting point of a class? Most times, they simply make an assumption. Entrance into the class is by the mirror method…you know. “Here breathe on this and then sit over there.” You sometimes have to have a prerequisite class to qualify you for the material. These classes are not uniform across the country, so you may have studied the material on a much higher level than the class you’re planning to take. You also might have studied the bare basics and will have to run to catch up.

My husband had to coach a golf team at one of the schools where we taught. I taught him how to hold the club by using a mop as a substitute. He was woefully unprepared to teach them, but as a brilliant educator, he was just right for coaching them. He had the team members work with each other to teach new material, but to improve, he asked them for self assessment. “How does it feel?” “What did you do differently?” “What would make this more efficient?”

My basic assumption is that Nobody starts from zero. Only You can determine your entry point. I will show you how to identify this, and how to use it to your advantage.