Learning to Study – Hindrances to Study

Whenever one starts doing something different – studying as a mature aged student for example – there are hordes of others hindering progress: especially your progress. They will proclaim a host of reasons for staying in your (un)comfortable place and not attempting to reach your dreams. (Envy? Jealousy?) It may well be that these folk, with allegedly good intentions, have not yet realized one of the rules of Living: everyone is either panting and pushing uphill or slipping and sliding downhill. Doing some form of study is one way to keep you moving onward and upward to reach the exhilarating vantage point of the next panorama. Irrespective of what others might say, level playing fields are temporary aberrations on the geography of Life.

You may be familiar with the poem “It could not be done, but she/he did it” and one of the lines “There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done”. Unfortunately for some, it is family and friends who are the greatest naysayers; perhaps because they secretly wish they could have taken similar opportunities but, instead, weakly declined. Emotional blackmail comes in many disguises and whenever you recognize it; politely thank the person for their thoughtful advice, then ignore it and them if needs be. You are on a mission, not necessarily to save the world, but to make the best you can of a part centring around yourself. I cannot recall the context but I can still hear my father one day in exasperation saying “Gordon. Do something!”

The naysayers have not grasped the immutable distillation of the experiences of millions: the fading pain of failure is insignificant compared with the enduring and excruciating agony of later regret. As a mature aged student you are fully aware of the consequences of giving up for the excuses offered by others. Circumstances do change and one may have to pause, adjust a personal timetable or even change direction: yet instinctively, we know the difference between an excuse and an overwhelming reason.

Circumstances can hinder one in the context of slowing learning. However, most of these should have been taken into account when you started your course. Look upon these not as hindrances but as constraints within which you are working. Remember that hard work is necessary because nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without some pain. Soon or later you will be able to honestly say that one of your goals seemed impossible until you had achieved it. At this point there is nothing anyone can offer as a reason for you to even slacken your studies.

A serious potential hindrance is a loss of your initial enthusiasm: a disheartening feeling of despondency enveloping your psyche. Perhaps, this is not surprising because the realisation of the awesome goals you have set have crept up on your consciousness. The good news is that few people do not feel like that before deadlines. Athletes feel it at the starting line. Even after many decades teaching I still had butterflies in my stomach at the first lecture of a new course: the butterflies flew in formation but it took years to train them. The solution is disarmingly simple. First, admit you have the collywobbles. Second, repeatedly tell yourself that collywobbles will not stop you learning. Thirdly, carry on with your tasks as if the collywobbles did not exist. Now the more cynical of my readers might say “Do you expect me to believe that!”. Of course. Just think of all of the fatuous rubbish that millions upon millions believe to the point of acting in purposeful ways: the advertising hype, the political lies, the religious humbug, the philosophical mumbo jumbo… You are in control of you. Besides, it works.

Source by Gordon Cochaud