Progression not perfection

Picture a toddler crawling towards a chair, reaching out and grabbing the leg for support, pulling themselves up, taking a tentative first step, falling,  getting up, a few wobbly steps, falling, more steps that turn to a baby jog, falling, laughter, more steps, success.

Regardless of the frustration, discomfort and failure - there is a simple determination, a dogged independent process, that results in the toddler learning to walk.

Photo by Mike Fox on Unsplash

Photo by Mike Fox on Unsplash

Of course, the euphoria of the journey from four to two legs is quickly replaced by all the adventures that follow. 

All of this came to mind following a recent talk I attended (actually a great talk with lots of new perspectives that triggered new thinking for me), where one of the speakers talked about a realisation that meaningful learning is a progression, it's not (immediate) perfection.

This really spoke to me. Had I forgotten that to master new concepts, I need to progress through a deliberate learning process, which includes learning from mistakes? 

To master python, build captivating presentations, speak Spanish, craft communications, transition from captain to coach - these shifts are not as natural as learning to walk, but they do require the same dedication, desire, tenacity and acceptance of failure.

As an imperfect human, the lack of immediacy to develop a new skill can dampen my enthusiasm to 'try' - but that speaker's observation that learning is a process of progression, not perfection has reminded me that effort and humility are two essential traits of personal and professional development.

UPDATE 26 August: aligned relevance - just came across this inspiring little clip featuring Yo Yo playing and sharing it's not painful to learn something if you do it incrementally  (and big thanks to Austin Kleon for link via his fab little newsletter)

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