This group of tree represents to me the way I often feel when I am immersing myself in a forest of things I need to learn. I get on the path and the hike seems like it should be easy enough but inevitably I run into some fog. The farther into it I get sometimes the more dense the fog. I am not a big fan of learning curves is something that just occurred to me as I was writing this.
In analyzing that, it is not because of the work involved but because of the confusion I often feel when I am trying to make sense of something. I am never content to just learn the mechanics of something I want to know the hows and whys also. So my struggle is not only the mechanical aspects of a process but the "big picture" I want to have to sustain it.
When Jim was teaching us about the ProScanners 2000 last week in our staff training, he said something that really struck a cord with me. He said essentially...People either love or hate the scanners depending on their experiences while using them.
They can work for a few hours doing a marvelous job of scanning and editing until the image is perfect and then simply go ballistic when they cannot figure out how to save or print their work. At that point they are so fed up and tired, they just want to throw up their hands, quit and go home. He further stated that the machines have a few idiosyncratic software hiccups that if the person had known would have changed their entire experience. It's our job as staff to make sure they get that information before they do actually give up in disgust and leave.
For me, that is exactly how just about everything I learn in genealogy or technology goes down. I cannot tell you the number of times I have thought I understood what I was supposed to do, studied it and noodled it through, even practiced it a few times. Just when I think "I've got this" something will happen that stops me dead in my tracts. I can see the finish line but there is a fog, a hurdle or an obstacle that will not allow me to proceed because I don't know how to navigate that one little place.
It is usually a step I didn't see when someone tried to teach me and sometimes something completely unforeseen that will close the toll booth for me with that bar coming down that holds me back. But unlike that toll booth situation...I do need to back up regardless of what it does to my tires and take another look at it. This stuff does not come easily for me like designing or writing or some of the other things I do. This stuff makes me sweat for everything I learn. Perhaps that is one reason why it is so satisfying when I finally get it.
That is the hard part when you'd rather just blast thought that flimsy, wooden arm that separates you from your finish line and forget the whole blankety-blank thing and escape into your comfort zone. Then what really frosts me is that I just spent a bunch of time that accomplished nothing and I still don't know how to do something important in my journey! But maybe that "accomplished nothing" phrase is not quite correct.
I think it is at precisely this point that a lot of people just walk away from something they are trying to achieve. It is at that exact moment that we need to forge ahead with all we have. We have learned 99% of what we needed and now just a few little idiosyncrasies in our thought processes stand between us and what we really want. It is that last little surge that propels us to understanding~when we are so tired and frustrated and lacking in motivation that we need to push as hard as we can against that restraint. It is only when you have forged ahead and push through the fog and rounded the learning curve on the path that you fully recognize this. That big push is what separates those who learn it and those that don't. The truth is we have to get out of our comfort zone. I simply hate that, but it is true.
This principle applies to everything as we try to progress. I think all of us are good at this in certain areas and still struggling or have even given up in others. It makes me want to revisit some of the things I have struggled with and abandoned and look at it again. It seems a little foolish to quit when the finish line is in sight.
That one last big push is what is needed to remove the obstacle in front of us. It is the toll we have to pay to get to the other side of the challenge. Once we do the fog lifts, the barriers are remove and the path is straighter around that learning curve. Finally we can see where we are going and it is worth it.
Naw, it's not me. Well, um maybe it is.
You'll have to decide.