In a matter of weeks, our patterns of daily living changed as COVID-19 invaded our lives. Businesses moved to survival mode. Parents became teachers. People transitioned to working from home. Conferences were canceled or moved to the fall, and meetings shifted to Zoom. Along with these changes, came forms of new learning required to make the transition.
Following are various elements of new learning:
For me, new learning came in the form of participating in a recording project to create a virtual choir. I confess, when I read all the instructions and listened to our choir director give additional directives on a Zoom meeting, I was frustrated and resistant. I began to mentally list reasons why this assignment was too hard, in fact, why it was impossible. My excuses included not having all the technology necessary and no ready access to what I needed because of closed stores. But more than anything, I felt inadequate for the task and intimidated by my lack of knowledge.
It’s easy to whine and complain rather than being receptive to a new learning experience and move forward with it. While it’s fine to acknowledge the task is hard, don’t stop there. Keep trying until you figure out a way to work around obstacles. Remember, new learning doesn’t have to produce a perfect outcome. The important thing is to try and be willing to experience some failed attempts. Often, fear of failure is what stops us from learning something new.
Many elements of our current circumstances are stressful. Personally, in addition to dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, I am spinning lots of plates right now, and often those plates are about to wobble off their sticks. Adding the virtual choir project rocketed my stress level to a new high, but I decided to give it priority and attempt it rather than wasting more time complaining. It would have been much easier to just say no, but despite the stress, it was an opportunity to learn. If we never power through the stress of something new, we never learn.
Last week, I listened to a panel of writers and editors on Zoom. The discussion centered on the ability of businesses and writers to pivot in response to COVID-19 by changing business models and thinking differently. The upshot of the meeting: those who successfully make the transition have the ability to rapidly assess current needs, change direction, and project what the landscape will look like in three to six months. This requires discerning the needs of today while also looking ahead. New learning stretches us and causes us to look beyond the immediate to the future. Although challenging, learning sustains forward motion.
I poured countless hours into completing the choir recording project. Honestly, some of that time was wasted in resistance. But once I saw the results of the efforts of our praise team and musicians, I was re-energized and inspired to continue putting forth the necessary effort. I also had an encourager who boosted my resolve and coached me on technical aspects of the project.
As you approach new learning, you may need to gain inspiration and support from others. Don’t worry about appearing stupid. Be willing to humble yourself by admitting you need help. Also, acknowledge the sacrifice of time required for any new learning. It’s foolish to expect learning to come easily or quickly. Keep trying despite obstacles and enjoy the rewards of accomplishment and added knowledge.
Humility is a big part of learning, requiring us to admit we aren’t as smart as we pretend. I was totally humbled to hear the recording of my “raw” voice without aid of instrumental pad. It took a lot of courage for me to send that raw footage. But just as I know my individual voice will be enhanced by the voices of others, instrumental accompaniment, and the skill of a sound engineer, I also realize what I learned helped me grow and prepared me for future challenges and learning.
Embrace learning, risk failure, and enjoy the process.
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs 1:5 NIV
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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