Use the force
I have a friend who is very intelligent and also very militant (at times I call him an elitist, which he doesn’t deny). He would always say to me that he feels that we need to force everything upon the masses for their own good. In the beginning I would say he’s too militant though I never disagreed with him. He has said this on more than one occasion when talking about society. After some pondering on the last time he said this and some recent experiences with some of my clients, I now agree with him 100%.
When he says “force” he does mean it in a militant way. However, when are things not forced upon people? Some people can force things gently while others are brutal with it. The only way to help one learn is to force it, just in what way?
As a motorcycle instructor, we (my co-instructor and I) have 20 hours to teach a complete novice how to safely ride a two-wheeled beast with an engine between their legs. In general everyone has the ability to operate such machinery if they know how to ride a bike (balance on two wheels). The main thing that holds people back is themselves. They are gripped by fear, namely the fear of falling. For this they don’t do what the instructors tell them to do. We yell (only so they can hear us over the engine), “Turn your head!” yet, they look straight. We signal them “Head and eyes up” because they’re looking at their hands operate the controls, which means their eyes are not on the road and/or they have to look at their hand to make sure its doing what they are telling it to do. I ask them if they look at their steering wheel while making a turn and all of them reply “no.” One may say, “well their new.” No, they’re scared. For this we need to force them to learn. We only have 20 hours and 8 of those hours are spent in a classroom. If there was no time limit, some people would never learn as they would “do it their way.” Others would take a long time. Well there’s only 20 hours to complete the course. One can take this course multiple times (and its free in Illinois), but it’s still only 20 hours.
When it comes to learning, people want to learn “their way.” There are a few questions I have. How do you know what is the best learning methods? How do you know that’s the best way for you to learn? What experience do you have in teaching and/or learning at an accelerated rate? How much time is enough time? Have you explored every method of learning? The list goes on. The average person’s usual reply is some arbitrary reasoning of they know what’s best for them. Really? If that’s so, why are you not capable of learning it all on your own? Why after X amount of time have you not grasped the information? I had one client that use to say to me “we all learn at our own rate.” Yes, this is true, but this mainly varies based on effort, relevance and one’s true goal to a high degree.
Now let’s bring it to being an executive trustee. There are many bodies of knowledge that needs to be understood to excel at being a trustee of your life. How serious are you taking this? What is your time frame to understand? Are you just gathering knowledge because its interesting to you? Why are you here? These questions must be answered first then we can talk about rate of learning. Until then, we will assume you are hear to understand what is being taught to you. The only way to do this is to force the information on you.
Think about it, you have been programmed all your life to think, feel and act a certain way. Now, after some time, you have realized that something is wrong. How else, could one change 20+ years of programming? Force! There are many things battling the people who teach adults, namely ego. Under the category of ego, we have, cognitive dissonance, fear, status (public opinion), etc. They are all in one form or another a form of ego. But we need to break them apart for further edification.
Let’s start with the latter, status. The other day, I had a client at my house as I was explaining something, he said, “I know I keep asking you this question…” Then I explained that, as a client that is his job, and it its my job to make sure you learn. He then admitted that he doesn’t want me to think he’s stupid so he may hesitate when talking or asking certain questions. I replied that, I could care less about that. He further went on to explain how he goes back in forth in his head just to not sound stupid. He’s battling himself over something that does not matter.
Next, we have fear, or to put it another way, not wanting to be wrong (Atychiphobia: Fear of failure). I always ask the same question to people: How many times did you fall before you learned to walk; babble before you could talk; do anything proficiently? You have to fail to learn. There’s nothing else to say about that. Get it through your head! Failure is inevitable! Embrace it!
Lastly, we have cognitive dissonance: A condition of conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between one’s beliefs and one’s actions (thefreedictionary.com). Up to this point, people’s lives and what they think they know (which forms their actions) have been consistent. Now that someone is coming and saying do it another way (which is usually perceived as “my action are wrong”) then the “conflict” begins, the conflict between the teacher and adult student. This explains why children learn at a faster rate, there is no previous pattern in their head. Children are open and nothing really needs to be forced upon them.
In conclusion, until people open their minds and transcend the ego, new ideas and concepts will have to be forced upon them. Some teachers can force in different ways, some use the student against himself or herself by refusing to continue until he or she starts listening. Some yell at you after talking doesn’t do it and others will take their time with you. The latter is usually paid greatly or has a lot of time on their hands. The level of frustration is not worth doing it without some form of compensation. That’s just the way it is. In the beginning, its worth the experience and it should be done for free. And anyone who says the information should be free is just a freeloader who doesn’t believe in giving people their worth. The information is free, the guidance isn’t.
When the the mind is open and the ego is under control, we won’t have to use The Force and Jedi mind tricks upon thee.
tags: learning, force, ego, cognitive dissonance, status, fear