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Sunday
Feb052017

Micromastery and learning ‘the correct way’.

There’s always a standard way to learn everything. Even tree climbing…I had been climbing trees since I was a child and was pretty good at it. I had later become a keen rock climber and learnt how to use ropes and other climbing aids- simply by reading, talking to others and watching. Years after that I discovered there was a whole sub-category of climbing devoted to topping out on super tall trees. This time, instead of following my nose, picking things up along the way, reading the odd book and just trying, I decided to do things the ‘official way’. I carefully copied from a ‘professional manual’ the way tree climbers arranged protection in trees and rigged up ropes. Instead of using my instincts- the right brain, I was following procedures- my left brain. I became so wrapped up in the correct method that I lost sight of the overall aim- don’t fall. Helping another climber secure himself (when he was already secure enough really) I fell about fifteen feet to the ground and injured my wrist. A wake up call if ever I needed one- learn YOUR way not the ‘official’ way.

Sports in schools are not actually taught really. The kids who are talented ‘get it’ straight away, the rest just kind of muck around and try and follow the rules the sports teachers yells at them. Left brain types- those, who, in the coordination of the detailed with the holistic, tend to favour the detailed- I include myself here when under public scrutiny- fail to learn things in the conventional manner. That you can change your whole learning style just because someone is watching and judging should be an incredible fact, but it’s all too true. As a child I had trumpet lessons- at which I made miserable progress. Then, during the winter holidays I thought it would be nice to learn some tunes- so I did- lots of them- all on my own in my bedroom. But when I went back to regular lessons in class I just stopped learning again.

I had a good memory, though, so I could learn left brain biased things like academic subjects. Anything where there was a greater need of right brain integration I failed at unless I did it ‘my way’- which I now see was a way of circumventing left brain bossiness.

A micromastery- which could be as simple as shooting basketballs at a hoop on the garage wall- is a stripped down skill that the slightly pompous left brain can’t take too seriously. You remain relaxed and open and experimental- and that’s how you learn. Maybe you watch a few videos, get a few ‘entry tricks’ to help you progress quickly in the early stages. An Entry Trick is a shortcut or cheat (as far as the left brain is concerned) but it supplies the all important motivational boost when you need it. With this low key approach you can learn in your own way.

Once you have learnt several connected micromasteries in one subject area- say cooking or painting or gardening- you have a firm foundation of success. You can pick what you need from the 'official way of learning' now, and eschew anything that doesn't work for you.

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