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How We Learn – The Four Seasons. Monday December 22, 2014

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." 1 Corinthians 13.11. Paul means this positively in the sense of becoming more mature. But I would suggest to you that there are some aspects of "the ways of childhood" that would serve us well if we picked them up again.

A prime example is learning. As a child, I wanted to walk. I saw visions of what was possible all around me – people walking everywhere. So I tried. I tried and failed. So I tried again. I failed again. I got frustrated, but I got up again.

You can guess where this is going. I tried until I succeeded, and then I kept improving.

The concept of try, try again is associated with many inspirational characters including Robert the Bruce. Hiding from the English in a cave, he was inspired by a spider's relentless attempts to build its web. It would not quit. Who knows what inner vision drove the spider to succeed?

As mature adults, we learn from painful experience to try less often and then quit. W.C. Fields quipped, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it!"

But I am like a child, and like a child, I love the four seasons. The four seasons of learning for me are:

· The Winter of Unknowing - not knowing what I don't know – [unconscious incompetence]
· The Spring of Discovery - knowing there is something to aspire to – [conscious incompetence – "I want to do this and will give it a go!"]
· The Summer of the Joy of Learning – [conscious competence – "I can do this!"]
· The Autumn of Excellence – [unconscious competence – "I did that without having to think about it!"]

Unconscious competence is a magical state. For those of us who drive, we'll have experienced the unconscious competence of driving somewhere familiar without having to be consciously aware of some of the route. We can surprise ourselves with "being there already"! All of us can perform a skill without thinking. It just happens...

My key point today is that mastery of any skill doesn't just happen – it flows naturally through the four seasons of learning. A child stays with the seasons. As adults, we may try to skip a season. That won't work.

The seasons stretch out before you today. Somewhere on our beautiful Planet it is Winter, in another location it is Spring, Summer smiles on some places whilst others enjoy the mellow fruitfulness of Autumn.

You are a World within yourself. Somewhere in your World there is a new possibility waiting to emerge. Look for it. Seek, and you shall find.

Somewhere else in your World within, you've already seen a glimpse of how you'd like to change, what you'd like to learn, where you'd like to be, what you'd like to do – try, try again.

In your own Summer of Success, stop and enjoy those moments where you now know you are competent.

And in your Autumn of Excellence – pause and consider where you may share the fruits of your experience with others. Pass it on. Pay it forwards. Your Autumn may bring hope in someone else's Winter – and so the cycle of the seasons flows on.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 7:21am

Hi Lex-great blog.I just had to copy and paste it in my journal entry for today and mull over its contents at a slower place.Thanks.

Anonymous Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 8:04am

My second son just arrived into the world so this lovely post really resonates with me. Thankyou. Also reminds me of a that Desiderata poem .. "despite all it's sham and drudgery the world is a beautiful place" xxxxx

Julia Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 8:40am

I think if something is clearly working but you are not there yet, you should keep trying. However if we are progressing along a path which we are told SHOULD work but we feel it isn't then we can give up can't we Lex? Walking is fundamentally essential for children so they have to try try try again until they can balance and do it. Your bog is inspiring Lex as always and I like the learning to drive analogy for those of us who can drive. This is a longer much more complicated blog than usual and like Hopeful One, I may(certainly will) re read it until it totally sinks in.

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 10:25am

Hi, Hopeful One
...yes, a bit longer blog today, so I thank you for reading it in its fulness and for giving it more attention as you mull it over. I wonder if you'd be prepared to recommend a journal programme? I understand that, like the Moodscope instrument itself, writing a daily journal is a superb tool for developing a Positive Psychology. It can also become a great tracking tool for showing where we move through these seasons of learning.

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 10:33am

Congratulations on the birth of your second son... and I'm glad this resonates. I'm sure, you will see in his development these four seasons of learning. It's the second birthday of my twin grand-daughters today. Their growth is inspiring... gets me wondering about what would be good to set as a learning goal for the New Year!

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 10:37am

Hi Julia
Great to hear from you!
Your words, "which we are told SHOULD work" speak volumes.
Many encourage us to "know ourselves" or to "find ourselves" and to "dance to the beat of our own drummer". However, there are others who "should" on us! They seem to know better than anyone what should work for us and what we should do... and I've got no time for them.
The Seasons of Learning is for what you CHOOSE to learn. If something should work but isn't, it would suggest to me that this is someone else's agenda - and unless you are aligned with that agenda, it is, ultimate, doomed to frustration!
In maturity we are free to choose our own learning. Hope that is of some comfort - though it's just my opinion from experience.

Anonymous Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 11:53am

This is really enlightening Lex, thank-you; very timely too, as I have just seen an online counselling course which I am tempted to sign up for ... maybe I should - oops! - will go for it ....(old habits die hard!) Frankie

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 12:11pm

That sounds like a wholesome temptation, Frankie... if you go for it, let me know, and perhaps I can be a regular encourager to help you keep persevering if you're even tempted to quit before the cycle finishes.... could be like opening the washing machine door too soon!!!

Melanie Lowndes Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 2:59pm

Lovve the blog. Thank you Lex. :-)

Mary Blackhurst Hill Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 3:55pm

Alex, I just Loooooove your blogs. This one is completely great. But am I the only one who finds it really scary not knowing what I don't know?

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 5:12pm

Hi Mary... isn't that the biggest scary thing in life... not knowing?
Or could it equally be the most exciting thing ever?
Bet you don't know what I do on the weekends!!!!

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 5:13pm

Thanks Melanie... having comments that suggest I'm helping really helps me keep going x

Anonymous Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 10:30pm

Thank-you for your kind offer Lex, which I really appreciate - I have bought it - but won't start it until late February (my beloved mother-in-law died last month - today was a bad day for me - I kept bursting into tears ... normal I know but very debilitating). Frankie

caroline ashcroft Mon, Dec 22nd 2014 @ 11:59pm

We have to know now Lex!! Spill the beans...

Anonymous Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 12:20am

Lex, I love thinking about learning in seasons! Thank you for that! I have twins too...two is a busy age!! The adventures...oh wow. Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry!!! It's quite a privilege to be part of though, brilliant. Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 12:21am

Ditto that! Love ratg.

Hopeful One Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 7:20am

Hi Les- I am afraid I don't know what you mean by 'journal programme' I should have said diary .There are really no rules for writing in one's diary.I do try and remind myself of the sequence event- belief/interpretation-consequences.Thus for every event that happens in our lives we have a choice of interpreting it in a positive or a negative light. The consequence is to me the difference between a high or low mood .

The Entertrainer Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 10:40am

Ha ha... not sure if I'm ready to come out of the wardrobe!

The Entertrainer Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 10:40am

They grow up so fast, don't they, RATG? Love to you too xx

Anonymous Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 11:46am

Lion or witch? Love ratg x.

Anonymous Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 @ 11:52am

Far too fast. And with twins it seems to go even faster as you split your time in half again. I struggled with depression right through and there will always be a part of me that feels deep sadness there but...we are a very close little unit and my kids have taught me more about life than any book or therapist ever could. Love them to bursting. Rambling. I'll shut up :-)

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