Learning How we learn

It is fantastic to have a walking experiment in the human learning process taking place right in front of me. By watching Max I’m getting a chance to really think about how I learn or improve my own skills (and I do have skills, mad skills). My new theory is that we use a pattern of alternating effort to finally establish the right amount of effort for a given task. Let me explain.

Max had  a stellar day on Wednesday, in terms of his potty training. He spent the whole day accident free. He told me he needed to pee while we  in transit and he held the mighty torrent at bay until we made it to our destination. Oh, how that poor tree rues the day it ever crossed paths with his full bladder.

The following day we returned to an earlier, messier, stage of development, and as I cleaned up the latest puddle from Mr. sprinkles, I recognized this sort of temporary regression as one of his patterns. Whenever he has a breakthrough day in some aspect of his cognitive and emotional development, there is always a  followup day where he takes a few steps back.

The lesson I’m going to apply to my own life is that any task or skill cannot be defined by a single success. If something goes fantastically well once, but is much less impressive on the subsequent attempt, don’t get discouraged. By repeating the task again and again, you start to narrow the gap between your best success and your worse failure until you reach the middle ground competency.

(Short version:

1.Try, try again

2. Be prepared to suck occasionally.

3. Even when you suck, you’re getting better.)

ADDENDUM: This post brought to you by Roy, provider of delicious cheeseburgers. All hail Roy!

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2 thoughts on “Learning How we learn

  1. This reminds me of something I read on a t-shirt. I don’t remember the exact words, but the message was that if the mistakes you make today are new mistakes that you haven’t made before, you’re moving ahead.

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