Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Be the fool
I read an interesting article about old brains and how they have problems learning new things. Most people presume (and, it is generally true) that old folks have trouble learning new skills. To explain this, many theories have been offered, some expressing what seems to be the obvious. Old bodies respond slowly, and old minds learn slowly. There is also the idea of degeneration of the brain slowing the learning process or making it impossible. In any event, it seems intuitive that old folks will not take up new physical skills quickly. The article, however, offers another possible explanation for this phenomena.
When learning a new skill there will almost always be a period of awkwardness as the body tries to perform patterns of muscle behavior previously untried and unlearned. During these early stages of learning we will look foolish, something that is uncomfortable for most adults. When we really start "showing our age", we become even more self conscious about anything that might make us look senile to others.
Children, on the other hand, throw themselves into new experiences with little concern about how they look during their attempts. They are, simply, caught up in the newness and delight of trying something new and how that makes their bodies feel. In essence, they have no inhibitions about looking foolish. As a result, they are eager to try and to try again, thus leading to quicker progress.
So, when you choke up on that roll attempt maybe it is because we are all watching and you are more focused on how you appear to us than you are on the business at hand. Hey, what's the worst thing that could happen? Miss the roll? Big deal, you won't be sent to prison and you won't be laughed at by all of us who remember all too well when we were exactly where you are now. So be the fool and risk succeeding, and...
Paddle safe...


JohnB said...

Thanks Silbs, that explains me to me ;))

Now what???

Coffee? As the shirt says:

"Instant Human, Just Add Coffee"

Michael said...

When I joined a fraternity at university, part of the pledge was to, "Maintain the spirit of youth". That and the easy availablity of decent meals close to campus were the only useful attributes of the place. The meals are long gone now, but the pledge phrase remains with me more and more.
Good post!