I´m still learning a lot about what I can learn at Knowmads. We are on a journey that is at times unpredictable and allows us to learn what we need most – a lot of it is actually unexpected. As of lately, I learnt a lot about …progress.
Actually I didn´t think that much about progress, or the concept of progressing. To me, it was just the thing that happens with practice – but I didn´t think that much about practice neither. They were supposed to happen I assumed and I didn´t take a closer look at how I was approaching both things. Then I was at Knowmads, in a new school, in a new city, surrounded by people I hadn´t known just weeks before.
And all this gave me the occasion – or opportunity to look at my approach to both practice and progress again. Simple things brought this question back in my mind, things such as learning to organise our tasks as a group or starting to draw again. Organizing for example is not a very exciting thing, but I found it almost funny how fast it became easier.
Yet organising is a task that I find useful but not very exciting and as I´m not really passionate about it in an emotional sense, I do not have to deal with feelings along the way.
But when it comes to something that is really dear to me – something that I really want to be good at – then embracing the concept of progress suddenly feels different.
It´s an ego thing (or has been for me). Because I first have to accept that I need to progress and that I have a lot to learn: I have to accept my flaws and my weaknesses in order to get better. And maybe I even have to accept that I´m still really bad at – to stay with the example of drawing, let´s say sketching dogs. Like really, really bad.
The next thing I have to do is drawing a hundred dogs then.
And then get over the disappointment of not being a natural when it comes to drawing dogs.
It´s funny how pride can stand in the way of learning – it seems like a really obvious, simple truth to accept that we all have to learn. And personally, I even like learning a lot. But one of my flaws is that I´m a proud person.
I could get over not being good at drawing dogs (it took tremendous effort). Correcting the assumption that I could draw a dog that would at least look like an animal with four legs and a head was possible.
Correcting deep assumptions about myself is hard.
For example we have started in March with a very interesting workshop-series on Non-Violent Communication. It involves taking a close look at how we communicate and how we deal with emotions in general or in situations that feel difficult. In terms of correcting assumptions: I always thought I was somebody who might not be exceedingly good at speaking about emotions but who could manage to communicate them reasonably well and - more important – who was anything but afraid of what they may consist of. I thought I was bold enough not to suppress anything. But I´m not. What I´m struggling with might in this case not only be pride but also fear. The fear of being vulnerable and showing that.
Sometimes the first step towards learning is boldness.
I will try to try anyway and to accept that I will fail - with practice I might get better at both “trying anyway” and at learning from failures.
I wonder where I got that idea from that I have to be good at something I´ve barely started to do.
In the end, accepting our starting point seems to be the very first step at arriving somewhere glorious/acceptable/cool down the road. To welcome progress I need to let go of illusions first.
Then start doing (baby) steps and see where they will take me.