Sunday, January 20, 2013
Slow Learner? Not Really
“Why do all the other kids look great and I’m struggling?”
“If I was 19 again, this would all be easy.”
“I guess I’m a slow learner, or I’m having a bad hair day.”
Ever feel silly or self-conscious in a class?
Does it seem like others are getting it faster, and you're the only one confused?
I used to think I was just slow, or maybe just slower than most of the other guys in class. Maybe you've felt the same way at points.
The instructor would show a pattern, move, or series of steps and I was confused. Sometimes I wouldn't get it during class. Other guys around me would get the moves, but I'd be missing something and feeling a little foolish. There was a glitch in my matrix, and I'd be shaking my head wondering what's wrong with me. Of course, the more I noticed the others getting it, the worse I felt.
As I’ve matured, I worry less about getting it the first time. Even if the moment isn’t fun for me, I know I'll get it at some point. Talent is wonderful, but persistence and repetition are often the difference between no-go and making it happen.
After a nap, or the next day, or seeing it the second time, and/or working the move slowly, I often have that "ah-ha" moment. Then it works for me and often wonder why it was so difficult the first time. Even with my teaching background, it's not always easy when it seems like everyone around me is getting it faster. In the heat of learning mode, some movements simply don't work for me initially.
The funny thing is that after a few months, I’m often farther along than the other guys who had it from day one. Many "got it" in class or sooner than me, but they missed the details and the finesse.
We’re all in the same boat. Some patterns or moves "feel right" in the beginning, and some go against your grain, requiring more time and effort to learn. For most, it's about relaxing and getting what you can the first time, then doing it again later, and later again if required. Competing with yourself is the best course of action, rather than worrying about how others are progressing.
Some moves take minutes, some weeks or much longer. A few may require reviewing or strengthening your fundamentals and take months or years to master. However, once you have them, they are yours forever.
Over time, "harder" moves become much easier as long as you continue to grow.
Persistence, a decent attitude, more repetition and constant learning means you'll dance better tomorrow than today. Slow or fast learner, as long as you don't quit, it works out over time.
Let me know what you do to keep the right learning perspective.
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Originally published in April 2009.