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January 3rd, 2020
Children have an amazing capacity for repetition, if it’s worth doing once, there’s a chance it’s worth doing fifty times in a row. Whatever aspect of early development underlies this idiosyncrasy of behavior it’s worthy to note the value here. It may be the reason behind the brute persistence children throw into their learning. No matter how many times they have fallen and cried from pain, they will always try to run again.
Adults on the other hand prove to be veritable wimps when it comes to this sort of persistence. We try something once and fail and conclude, well…. I suck at that.
We have to wonder, what exactly are we trying in such an instance?
Are we trying to succeed?
Are we merely trying one strategy that we believe might lead to success?
Regardless of whether or not we are successful, it is always the later. We are always trying out strategies by carrying out the plans generated by that strategy. The result is feedback from reality telling us merely how well that strategy worked. Or didn’t.
It may look like children are doing the same thing over and over, but chances are high they are paying attention to different aspect each time. A while ago the children’s show Blues Clues underwent a study when it was found that children would watch the same episode 5 days in a row. Turns out they were picking out new things with each viewing.
Is it any surprise? Do you pick up all the details the first time around?
Or is it more the other way around? Is it that there’s often so much going on that if we don’t luck out with some surprise dopamine hit from beginner’s luck that we’re in fact so overwhelmed by all the details we know we’d have to study that we give up out of a kind of laziness?
There’s some efficiency in laziness. Learning is costly, and deciding not to figure something out saves a lot of time and energy. But time and energy is wasted if we don’t use it to learn something else.
And if we turn down the opportunity to learn anything than we may want to wonder if we can begin to lose the ability to learn at all.
What a scary thought.
Often we default to a passive filler activity, like Netflix. But what would happen if we just sit with ourselves alone, with nothing to do. What curiosity would eventually arise? What would we want to investigate?
With all the busyness of life pushed aside for one damn moment, what human drive remains?
Give it a shot.
And if it doesn’t feel like it yields anything,
Give it another shot.
There’s something there.
It might just be a hidden key to unlock a better future.
This episode references Episode 53: There is No Try
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