The unfettered joy of learning

I wonder if you can remember that moment when you learnt to ride a bike? I can. I’m pretty sure I progressed straight from a tricycle to a two-wheeler, without the benefit of training wheels, but with the presence of super-patient parents who took it in turns to run along beside me holding the back of the saddle.

Their cunning strategy was to employ a lighter and lighter touch, eventually running beside me but not actually touching the saddle, and of course by that stage, even though I didn’t realise it, I was peddling along under my own steam.

Then before I knew it I gasped in astonishment as I saw them across the garden instead of being where they should have been alongside me.

‘If they’re not here, then, what the – WAHEY! – I’m riding my bike!’

I’m sure the next moment saw a shock-induced wobble, but the good work had been done. I’d seen I could ride a bike. On my own.

Let’s think about the four feelings which probably resulted from picking up this new skill:

1. The process of learning itself kept me curious and engaged: would I really be able to ride a bike? Just think… Where would I be able to go once I’d learned? It was fun. It was a mission.

2. Once I’d seen I could ride the bike I had an enormous sense of accomplishment. I did it. I did it!

3. Of course this boosted my self confidence. Surely anything would be possible now I’d pulled off the task of learning to ride a bike.

4. My resilience received a boost too. No matter how many times I might have fallen off, I’d overcome the obstacles and ended up a bike rider.

Overall, I know it felt great. I’m sure my mood was on top form that day.

I’m pretty sure you and I can replay some, if not all, of these emotional responses by ensuring that we’re always learning new things. So what will you learn today?

You can do it. You can.

3 thoughts on “The unfettered joy of learning

  1. I still get a good feeling when I learn something new even if it’s only finding my way round an unknown street map, whilst on holiday, to get to a restaurant someone recommended.

    I totally disagree with the old saying that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ as one old dog who thrives on learning and looks forward to learning more about people and this fascinating world.

  2. This post made me shiver with resonance. I do remember that feeling of learning to ride my bike, and, on the other side, of helping my daughter learn to ride hers. At the moment I’m learning to ride on my own again, but in a different way. Thank you, Jon!

  3. You kept your promise and came back to us. I’m so glad you did. You have been missed. Many thanks & best wishes to you.

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