Saturday, May 23, 2009

Zen and the art of juggling

Years ago I attended a conference in which a psychologist explained his theory of learning. His basic thesis was that we learn from our success, not our failures. Doing the same thing wrong over and over will never teach you. You first need to experience success so that the brain neurons can make the proper patterns.

As part of the class, he said that he could teach anyone to juggle within a couple of hours. The key was to break down juggling into small pieces and have the brain properly learn bit by bit. As I was never that coordinated I was always skeptical that I could learn something that looked so difficult in just a couple of hours. But I gave it a try and I discovered that his theory worked.

I have since applied the theory that we build on success, not failure to other parts of life. For example, if we are to be successful politically, we first need to gain small success. Trying to do something large all at once usually just leads to failure.

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