Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Learning by doing

Today it is suddenly clear to me that living well is a skill that can only really be learned by doing, just like any other physical or mental skill.

I would never expect to learn how to tango, or weld, or write a speech just from reading a book (much less an article on the internet). I know that learning these skills takes practice, in order to learn all the parts that cannot be put into words and to commit the necessary reflexes and instincts to memory.

So why do I keep thinking that I can learn how to live by reading? That understanding a lesson on the page is the same as understanding it through experience? Why am I surprised that I keep coming back to the same lessons again and again, though I'd thought I'd understood them already?

Another lesson learned, and I hope that I've learned this one as a feeling in my bones, and not just as words in my head. And, as so many times before, I find myself coming back to one of the most basic lessons of all: patience.