Learning is Tough / The Art of Arting

I think you could probably ask anybody if they enjoyed school and you’d get a relatively common response that it was hard or boring or that they liked some things but were really bad at other things. I don’t necessarily think this is a problem with the system (although that is a deeper subject than I’m willing to focus on right now; there are plenty of challenges and problems with the system, as is). I think it’s a human problem with lots of contributing factors.

I’m only going to talk a little bit about one of them.

I think that the key issue in learning something is interest in learning it. If you like to fly-fish, you’d probably be more inclined to learn how to tie different hooks and attempt new techniques. You’d be more interested in researching different rivers, migration patterns, seasonal climate effects, etc. This would lead to more subjects, like camping basics, car maintenance, outfitting, food preparation, etc. You’d develop these abilities over time and would have worlds of room for learning new stuff, but you’d also be much more of an expert than many other people. All because you had an interest in what you were learning.

So, the question is: can we develop an interest in something that we have no interest in, if only to learn a little bit about it? Specifically, when confronted by something that strikes us as meaningless and boring, can we learn how to find it interesting enough to grasp it? What can fuel that?

I think that we’re always learning, whether we set out to or not. Maybe the trick is to be open enough to ask questions, to not put so much pressure on yourself, to try new things, and to give yourself rest.

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