Medium old dog  new tricks

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks


We have just had a School for Social Entrepreneurs study day where we gave out to the students their original application form that they wrote over a year ago when they applied to attend our programme. This was not a misty eyed attempt at nostalgia, or to shatter the dreams they once held dear but an attempt to encourage them to recognise their progress and identify the learning they have gained since the start of the programme. Often we are not consciously aware of our personal development unless we look back to the person we once were and see the difference.

I have previously been on a learning programme where we have all written a letter to ourselves at the start of the course, outlining our hopes and fears and where we wanted to be at the end of the 3 years. It was a really emotional time as we opened our letters and found out which bits had gone to plan and which definitely hadn’t. It doesn’t have to be over that length of time; we can experience great change in a much shorter time and this is one way of acknowledging that change. Have you ever found an old diary and read the entries from the person you used to be? It can be really uncomfortable if you read the ideological musings from yourself as a teenager, but it is valuable to know the person you have become.

Learning can be painful – I was introduced to Snapchat this week and I don’t like it! Evidently I am a bit of a dinosaur using Facebook and social media is much more instant and disposable and ‘snappy’ now. I want to hang on to what I know but I can see the warning signs of being left behind so I will give it a go – I may not use it but at least I can say I have experience of it; it might be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I am determined to try!

I have found that the older I get, the more I am aware of what I don’t know. I think I would like to add something to the learning process, you know the one:

Unconscious incompetence – eg a child sitting behind the wheel of a car making brrrum noises and thinks there is nothing to this driving lark
Conscious incompetence – eg the learner driver who stalls when changing gear and suddenly realises this is much harder than it looks
Conscious competence – eg being able to drive but having to concentrate really really hard and sitting very upright
Unconscious competence – eg you arrive somewhere and have no recollection of the drive at all!

And now:
Discerning incompetence – eg you break down and realise you know little or nothing about how the car you are driving actually works

Also the realisation of all the things you don’t know and how much there really is to learn in the universe and no matter how long you live you will never know even a minute fragment of it all. Going from thinking you pretty much know everything there is to know to knowing that the only thing you really know is that you know very little!

It’s great to look back and realise how far you have come, how much more knowledgeable you are, how powerful you have become but temper it with a healthy awareness of your place in the universe!