Thursday, August 26, 2010

Learning Curve

How are you at learning new things? Do you embrace new challenges or would you rather mentally cross your arms, dig in your heels and pout?

I'm a better student and more avid learner now than I ever was in my youth. Back in school, I loved to read so I did great in English, History, Philosophy and a few other areas of study. Math and Science? Not even close.

In later years, I get a greater kick about exploring new subjects. When I think of all that I've learned about marine mammals in the last ten years, and how much I enjoy the process I'm amazed. (Some previous professors would be surprised, too.) These days my co-workers and I have the opportunity to participate in a university-level Animal Cognition class. Fascinating!

Outside of "class work", I've experienced a number of different life lessons. Boat handling and navigation rules; snorkeling; the ever-advancing world of personal computers, the Internet, social media and phones that are hand-held computers as well as communication devices - Whew! When it comes to modern technology, we almost don't have a choice not to learn. I'm grateful that I continue to like the lessons.

What if you didn't? What if you collided with a huge life change that forced you to learn about things you'd never had to handle before -- and never particularly wanted to? I imagine that how you've lived your life to that point influences how well you handle this ball that's been pitched full speed at your strike zone.

If you're one kind of person, you might try to resist, and ultimately resent, the forced change. You might refuse to move forward and end up flattened. Another personality would stand, hands on hips, and say, "Bring it on." Still another might rub her hands together, eager to see what's coming her way and what new experiences she's about to see.

(Yes, I'm pondering for the sake of my story's character.)

Are you one of these personalities, or someone else?


KellyJ (Bona Fide Betty) said...

I'm an avid learner, as long as the subject is something I like, or if it involves someone I love.

My attitude would also depend on why I had to learn something new, and whether or not that that reason was important to me.

Skye said...

I generally love to learn, and I learned to learn after I got out of college the first time.

The past year I had to finally learn how to network, how to talk to other professionals without being a user and simply handing out my business card, how to talk to STRANGERS for god's sake. It's been excruciating and I spend many months trying to not have to do that. But now I can do it and kind of like it.

The past months of dealing with Mom's illness and helping her and learning about cancer and caregiving have made me learn stuff that I would rather not have learned. I'm not exactly digging in my heels, but it makes me tired and I'm not exactly diving in.

Different attitudes to different subject matter?

Mary Stella said...

Skye, 12 years ago, I was in your position, helping my mom 24/7 during her battle with cancer/strokes/seizure. It's exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. Might I suggest you visit the website of the National Association of Family Caregivers? The information that I received from that organization was extremely helpful. Caregivers need care, too.

Yes, I think we have different attitudes to different subjects.
Looks like Kelly J agrees, too.