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Learning & Mistakes - A Great Journey

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading a book in relation to learning and memory. It dives into various key concepts, a few of them resonated with me. The first being to write things down BEFORE you start studying or learning about the subject, to showcase to yourself what you know (or think you know) about that subject. For me this is something that never came across my mind before, but seems so … obvious? If you write down what you think you know about the subject, then you aren't going in completely blind; which can feel a little discouraging. For example if I were to study some sort of astronomy, I would write down:

  • Astrology is a study of planets

  • Astrology works within the realm of spacetime

  • Spacetime could work in many ways but is most often analogized as a sheet in which planets “rest” on top of

  • Planets are various and populate in great numbers. orbiting stars. These planets can be rocky, icy, or gaseous

  • etc.

Writing down even the most basic of knowledge confirms that you indeed have knowledge and is a great first step into learning, which is deeply uncomfortable.

The second is perhaps more important and relates to learning being uncomfortable. I have always been more an introvert than anything, hesitant to try my hands at new things as I am afraid to make mistakes. For some strange reason my brain things it isn’t okay to make a mistake. Perhaps it has to do with social media and all of the perfection I see on there, nobody would post their mistakes.

I now understand that in order to learn IT IS OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES. Mistakes, errors, issues, complications, are all invaluable resources when it comes to mastering a subject. I think I must be perfect in order to showcase my work, or to at least try something, in reality perfection does not exist. I should take the whole of humanity as an example of how even collective intelligence draws massive errors.

It came to a sudden shock to me as I was reading this chapter in the bus that we are human and to error is human. Nothing shakes your confidence than making a mistake, believe me when I say I overthink like no-other and if I were to make a mistake I turn beat red and I have some cold sweats. But that is how you learn, dare I say one of the best ways to learn. Personally I want to hope that in the future, there is a more pronounced narrative regarding mistakes and to not take them as a discouragement but to work through them.

Humbling was this experience while riding in the bus, looking out as the haze filled sky as spring fades into summer. The mixture of yellows, reds and greens permeate my mind. I realized that I truly don’t know most things, and that is okay. I am bound to make a mistake, we are all specialized to a certain extent, and continue to be specialized, and to that specialization comes experts in which pass knowledge to inexperienced students (like myself) whom are condemned to mistakes; and that is okay.

It is okay for mistakes to be made, I am but an imperfect representation of myself; and in that, is perfection, is personality, is a joy for life.