I just returned from Prince Edward Island, site of the Canadian Student Leadership Conference, and it was amazing to spend time with about 950 enthusiastic, excited people. The really cool thing, though, was the reason why everyone was excited: They were excited to have the opportunity to learn!
It's interesting to me how heavily people's attitudes towards learning can affect their abilities to learn. Conference delegates with the right attitude come away with pages of good ideas, but without the desire to learn, they would come away with a bunch of empty pages, or perhaps they wouldn't even bother to bring the paper. In Montreal this summer, some students obviously wanted to learn French, myself included, and I think we made some good progress; we certainly had a lot of fun trying. But some others without the drive ended the summer speaking barely more than, “Bonjour.” I can understand how it works, as I've been in classes where I just didn't care about learning the material, and not surprisingly, I didn't fare so well. I got the credit, but that's about all I got.
Of course, learning is beneficial. Without it, we'd still be reliant on primal instincts for everything, and that wouldn't help us avoid being hit by cars, not to mention generating ideas to rebuild the economy by investing in cleaner technologies and public transportation. But more than being just beneficial, learning also happens to make us feel good! Just watch people's eyes light up when they accomplish a challenge, solve a puzzle, or grasp a new concept! It feels great to use our capacity!
We can help ourselves succeed by making a conscious choice of what we want to learn. If a required class isn't exciting you, figure out something you do want to get out of it. Don't like microscopes? Decide to learn about group dynamics during lab sessions. Don't like long division? Decide to learn and practice fancy calligraphy numbers in the process. It might not get you better grades or a that raise you've wanted, but you'll at least have more fun in the process! Whether it be classes, music lessons, or some new activity, find something that you want to learn. Talk to your parents, partner, teachers, or bosses about it, and I'll bet they'll work with you to help make it happen. You'll be more motivated and have more fun. Enjoy the climb!
October 14, 2008
“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”
- Sarah Caldwell,
American Opera Director
Joel Hilchey speaks and facilitates workshops across North America, empowering students, educators & business leaders who want to build stronger, more positive teams and communities. Contact him by phone at 1-877-487-5635 or check him out online at www.joelhilchey.com!
RIDDLE: Black with white markings and smooth like a rock, where learning occurs, I help convey thought. Who am I?