The Weekly Dream: Learning to Learn

“There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise. The minute you get away from the fundamentals, the bottom could fall out .”
-Michael Jordan, I Can’t Accept Not Trying

“Don’t start something you are not going to finish…I hate that”
-My mother

For me, the process of learning and change has always been uncomfortable, if not painful. Today was my first day back on the basketball court and needless to say it was a humbling experience. However, it reminded me of the process I went through to learn the game and the fruit that came from it.

Growing up, I was more nerd than athlete and disparaged every sport accept soccer. But around fifth grade, when all the guys went to recess, there was no one to play soccer with, so I figured I might want to give basketball a try. That summer, my father sent me to the one week Kevin O’Neill Summer Basketball camp. This was the premier camp in town. There were speakers, drills, and games. Every camper was assigned a team based on age group and we played each other for bragging rights and a chance to play in the playoffs at the end of the week.

My team was the worse team in the league. By Wednesday, I was ready to hang it up. I hated losing and being the laughingstock of the camp. But I played through it and practiced my drills.

On the last day of camp, everything seemed to come together. We went into sudden death overtime with the best team in our league. On a miss, I got the rebound and scored the game winning basket. I was hero for a day.

The following two years I attended the camp, I became progressively better. And my last year, I played in the finals in front of the entire camp and my parents. Although we did not win, I felt peace because I went from being on the worse team to being one of the best.

It’s Good For You

This scenario has played itself out in my life many times over, anytime there is a new beginning. I find myself looking up at the bottom and I work my way up to the top. I always feel like the tortoise in a world full of hares. Some people rise to the challenge and others never push it past the pain. Perhaps there have been times when you have felt the same. However I have found that with faith, persistence and tenacity, you can make it to where you want to go.

What the process requires along the way is patience and humility to learn and to begin again. Our society is predicated on flawless execution, but how does one attain perfection? Unless you are an idiot savant, you are going to have work through the discomfort. Success is right around the corner.

How Do I Learn?

It is important to know the process in which change and learning occurs when you find yourself in new situations. I have developed an acronym that I use in order to stay focused on the process and not the pain: P.I.P.A (Pay attention, Internalize, Practice, Apply).

First, discern what is required and what it will take to be successful. Also, look at how you feel and your gut level reaction to everything.

Second, make sure you truly understand what the process is and if you are willing to give what is going to be required. To paraphrase Jesus: Who begins a work and counteth not the cost?

Third, practice the skills you will need. First in no pressure situations and then put yourself in a simulated environment. You can also run through your routine using visualization. Picture yourself being successful at game time.

Fourth, when the time comes, apply what you have learned. If you have done the other steps properly, chances are you won’t stink up the joint. Remember Poor Preparation Prevents Perfect Performance.

Final Thoughts

Anything you want in this life is going to cost you something. The question is whether the price is reasonable. Do not rely on your gifts too heavily. Remember that work is the catalyst that transforms talent into skill.

Life will always grant a second chance to those willing to start over.

Even a phoenix must fall before it may rise again in splendor.

Be the Phoenix-You will rise again.

Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas

Question of the Week: Is there an instance where you have pushed through discomfort to be the best?

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