Recently I was reading an Ebook on my laptop and at a point I performed a minor function to check the definition of a word. As soon as I did it I smiled to myself as I imagined someone unfamiliar with the system processes and how-to, watching me and thinking I’d done some big-deal fast move – probably leading to my being mistaken for some tech-savvy creature (emphasis on ‘mistaken’). As I thought that, my mind went to a sibling of mine who actually found the system rather confusing. The funny thing is, his impression mirrored mine as at when i’d just received and begun learning to use it. I’ve come to find that whether it’s in learning to play a computer game, to draw, to swim, or write in cursive – it’s almost never a ‘piece of cake’ at the first go (especially if you haven’t even baked before…*wink). For someone else, it could even be something as simple as getting a 4-digit password or swipe pattern to unlock a phone. You watch the owner input it quickly and trust your cutting edge memory bank to not embarrass you, and then you attempt it – 6 consecutive times – and fail, maybe wondering; “Why can’t I figure this out though?”
I’ve come to find that some things in life are like that. They generally get in the habit of looking a lot more surreal or intimidating or way out of reach than they actually are…just because they’re far away.
It’s easy to forget to imagine many things when we’re faced with these ‘larger than life’ pictures our minds expertly blow up. It’s easy to forget to imagine for instance, that the dexterous knife sharpener at the market has probably cut himself countless times before getting to the point where he becomes worthy of your awe and hanging jaw. It’s easy to forget that there are processes to nearly everything – whether or not we’re aware of them. Many may gasp at the media revealed net worth of some business moguls or entrepreneurs, after conveniently skipping interviews and autobiographies detailing how they’d slugged it out in the mud for decades before finally finding a patch of dry ground.
There are processes to nearly everything you see, and i believe this also applies to learning new things.
- Interest: you have to at least have a spot of interest in something for you to even get to the point of attempting it. Without any interest, there’s no thing to try – the activity simply gets lumped in with the blur of speedily passing fancies on our racecar drive through life.
- Attempt: this is when your interest gets a promotion and is allowed to exit the world of thoughts, and gain welcome into that of actions.
- Fail: more often than not, most of us don’t get it at the first try. We miss it. We also respond differently to perceived failure – depending on different variables such as the activity in question, the amount of importance placed on it, personality, etc. Some may laugh at their failings at the start, shake their heads thinking; “How could I miss this simple thing?” (Like one would with a game maybe) and they’ll go at it again. Some might take it a little more personally. E.g. a newly wed trying to ‘wow’ the partner with an exquisite but complicated meal. If mom’s voice guided them over the phone through the dish preparation (after already sending a detailed recipe on Whatsapp) and it still ended up a flop, laughter would be unlikely. Unless of course the partner is the type to sweetly peel eyelids back until they see humor in the situation and relax.
- Win: some really cool kids may get stuff at the first go – almost every time. If you’re one of them, that’s great. But in my experience, when you nail something you were trying out for the fist time, chances are you’d go at it again (because ‘haters’ will say it was a fluke – and sometimes the hater is your mind). You’d try to prove to yourself and the masses that you are awesome on purpose and not just by chance. And then, on your second, third or even fourth try…you just may flunk (insert Kwiksie’s laughter here because – experience!!!). To be sincere, this particular ‘fail’ (after several wins) may hurt more than the first-try one.
Either way, what’s the next step after witnessing either of the two possible outcomes from the initial attempt? In most cases, it’s another attempt, right? But if I asked what the next step after the 4,573rd attempt would be, how many people would readily respond; “Yet another attempt!” Sadly, I’m thinking a much fewer number.
But how come it’s like that? Why do we sometimes decide that it’s absurd to keep trying something after a few disappointments or moments when we drive right into a wall of formidable difficulty? My guess; we probably learned this in the school of life and society. We learn alot through modeling and conditioning but also, quite often the perceptions of others and their opinions about choices we make or things we do tend to greatly affect and influence our behavior.
- A child repeatedly misbehaves in class. He’s been doing so since he was in nursery two, now he’s in SSS 1, so obviously he’s going to be a good for nothing brat till he falls off the earth. He shouldn’t be in school. His parents don’t really care – they’re busy. No teacher need put in extra effort…it’s futile.
- A woman has been consistently unpleasant to each customer that has come to her shop for the past 8 months. There’s no point going there and trying to know her or be sweet or whatever. She’ll snarl your complexion off. She’s just a witch like that. Your neighbors think so and shop elsewhere; learn from their experience.
- The last four times anyone attempted to start a conversation about Jesus Christ with a colleague at the office, he’d delved into full argument mode and none could ever get five words in sideways for the duration of his thirty minute monologue about the pointless idiocy of religion. So that’s it. The devil would, after all, need a little company down there. Don’t fight destiny.
Are those scenarios way off? Maybe. But don’t they seem prime and juicy examples of appropriate conditions to warrant one ‘giving up’ on a cause? I mean, such tedious hassles to keep running back to – why bother? Right?
I’d like to ask this: Have you given up on candy crush yet?
Wait, don’t raise your eyebrow too high please. I asked what I asked for a reason. I’m not trying to assume everyone reading is a candy crush enthusiast because that would be absurd. I’m trying to point out something – please input whatever else represents ‘candy crush’ (or games in genera) in your life when i’m through. I’m asking that to those of us who feel totally justified in, quote and unquote, ‘throwing away’ people when we don’t ‘get them’ on the first few tries. Think of the game again. I’ve heard many people complain about, deride, scoff at and act all sorts at the mention of one of these popular game apps that seem to be all over the place, yet in all truth, some of the very same can’t seem to do without them.
Now I believe deep down, many have already come to realize that a lot of mainstream games nowadays are essentially pointless time wasters (you may attempt to correct/convince me otherwise in the comment section though, *smiles), and yet there are countless men, women and children who are utterly fixated on and addicted to them; going at it for various minutes/hours, everyday, trying to beat one high score after the other or advance past one level they’ve been stuck on. I’m not here to give a lecture about game playing – different strokes for different folks, right? #shrug, it’s all about how we value certain things and time. My point is, if we can keep going back to things of absolutely no meaningful consequence, despite how annoying they can be or how irritated we sometimes get when it seems we’ve been bested by software and text, why are the things in life that should truly matter, the ones we opt to first give up on at the slightest provocation?
Why should anyone be more inclined to stick to a difficult game, sweating it out with everything they’ve got, and yet show reluctance to go even an inch past the required mile of faith, endurance, patience and effort when it comes to more valuable things (e.g. people, dreams, self-improvement, life???)
I just find it a little disturbing.
To be continued…