Thursday, May 03, 2012

Model Toddlers to Improve Your Learning Skills

If you have ever watched a child learning to walk, you have observed the principles of success in learning any new skill, for an entire lifetime. You probably do not need any more fancy training in learning skills. However, alas, we acquire a lot of unwanted training that hinders our successful learning.



The broad stages that a toddler learning to walk goes through are the following:
  • The child who had remained lying until now, observes elders standing, and instinctively, tries to imitate.
  • It first learns to stand up, by holding onto a wall or some other support.
  • After having learnt how to stand, it tries to imitate elders walking.
  • Takes a step, falls down.
  • Picks herself up, and attempts again.
  • The mid step, where she has to shift weight from one leg to the other-this is the tricky part. She does not know if she will fall down. She falls many times in the mid-step. Nevertheless, everybody tells her she can do it. Nobody ever discouraged a child learning to walk.
  • After falling down many times, she understands that if she transfers the weight to the other leg fast enough, she will not fall. When she has this confidence, she has learnt to walk. Now all that remains is practice, practice,...to improve the learnt skill.

Why learning becomes boring and hard later on

Later, while learning other skills like Math, Vocabulary, Drawing etc., the child goes through the same process-trying, failing, trying,...However this time, there are people with her who want her to learn as fast as possible, to save their time. They do not have the patience to let her learn through failing and having fun in trying. When the child fails a number of times, the elder may start saying comments like: Looks like you are having problems with this. This seems to be hard for you, why don’t you try harder?

Worse comments: You stupid! Can’t you do something as simple as this? What’s in your head? Is it made of clay? 
Finally: You'll never make it! Idiot!

Unfortunately, parents and teachers have also their ego to defend, so they need to prove that their verdict was correct-the child cannot learn well!

The blow has been struck. It stays with us throughout life, making a terror out of learning. This bad training gives us the queasy, unpleasant feeling and the anxiety when things go wrong while we attempt something new.

Then we start our own self-talk, which reinforces the old negative talk given by others: I seem to get nothing right! I am messing things up again! Oh what an idiot I am! 

This ensures failure.

How learning any new activity can be fun

Suppose the child in the above example had nobody telling him negative comments while learning and failing. He would make many attempts while learning Mathematics and other subjects fail many times in his attempts, but eventually he would get it right.

Because you have been given negative feedback countless times, and because you have started telling yourself the same negative things about you, the only way to reach success is to learn and say positive things about you:
I am a good learner! I can do it if I keep trying!
Learning is fun!
Failing is good, it helps me learn better.
I can fail as many times as I need, each time I learn something new!

The toddler who is learning to walk is the best possible inspiration for learners and students of all ages, the world over.

How many times, and how long do I have to repeat positive self-talk?

As long as you stop saying the negative things about yourself. I have chosen to continue indefinitely, for negative programming is not easy to remove permanently.


However, it is easy to find out when it has become effective: when you habitually start saying positive self-talk, your performance improves in every aspect of your life: not just learning or studying but in social life, relationships, finance, all spheres. For this, you need to learn and repeat self-talk which covers all areas: Self-esteem, Being organized, Taking responsibility, etc.

What to say when you talk to yourself  is a primary text in the science of self-talk. Dr.Shad Helmstetter is the author of this book which has sold millions of copies in more than 64 countries. It is available on Amazon. Once I bought this book, I got the gist of the self-improvement system and how to sustain it: it all depends on my thoughts.

  


You might want to check out this post also: Having fun in learning skills
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