December 31, 2009 1 Comment
What’s the most important thing you learned in 2009?
This is a question posed by ALALearning on Twitter. I’ve been pondering it over the last several hours. I’m not one to normally do a review of the year gone by at the end of the year (although I know it is perfectly natural to do so). I was having a hard time answering the question.
To me learned implies that I’ve mastered it to some degree. I feel like I’m still learning photography (of course I am I’ve been doing it less than a year) so that couldn’t be my answer. I thought some more. I’m still learning so many things and even if I feel confident in them I don’t ever see myself as mastering them (which to me is a good thing as I think once you’ve mastered something you might rest on your laurels and not learn anything else).
While soaking in a hot bubble bath tonight (sorry for the TMI) I was reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I came to a sentence on page 56 that just struck me. “Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.” I had an ah-ha moment. The light bulb went off. As a trainer I feel that (and have been told as well) I’m very patient with folks learning new skills. However, I know for a fact that I’m not very patient (or polite) with myself when learning. I am impatient, I want to get to the next level, I want to master it (sounds ironic considering what I’ve said in the previous paragraph).
I think, no strike that I know it is my biggest stumbling block when it comes to my photography. I so want to be at a better level than I am yet I have failed to see that to get to it I need to learn all the little steps in between. I need to be more polite, more patient with myself when I’m learning something new. I need to remember the patience I have when a student has asked for the umpteenth time how to copy/paste – I grin and quietly, calmly instruct them once again on how to do it perhaps trying a different tactic so this time it sinks in for them.
So, although I still can not answer the question posed to me, I am hoping that the bath time revelation I had will prove to be something that I try to do when I’m learning something new. I need to treat myself as I would one of my students. So maybe next year I can answer that I’ve learned to be polite/patient with myself (and others) when learning something new.