Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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In … over our head

When I was in my 7th year of school - I underwent a very extensive IQ testing program, the end result of which, saw me installed in a special class. My dad was all excited about this - and so was I - for a bit. We were exposed to Astronomy, High level math, English, French, Italian and Latin … all compulsory languages we needed to learn; etc. 


Most of it I found easy - except for the math. I struggled badly at math - I would have to say, I sucked. I just didn’t ‘get it’. I resorted to ‘memory tricks’ to fumble my way through - but I was ‘miserable’! I began to think they had stuffed up the IQ test - and I shouldn’t have been in that class at all. 

But here’s the main point - if we don’t like the subject matter, or have no interest in it, then a high IQ may not help much at all. In fact, it could be argued that a higher IQ gives us a greater potential for regretting under-achievement; or for being able to rationalise why that particular subject is of no use to us … that was at least, my own experience. I still struggle with math - partly because I don’t seem to have any gift for it and also because I find no ‘joy’ in it. I run from math problems. On a side note - I cannot ‘draw’ to save my life either … completely useless. But I do run toward certain other challenges. 

Let’s look at a corollary the mat; one that plays out in so many BJJ academy’s …

Someone with little to no skill, is thrown in the deep-end on the day of their first class. If they have a natural kinaesthetic bent, great spatial awareness, co-ordination, ect … they will probably thrive. On the other hand, if these are not abilities they posses, they may struggle - they may even be ‘miserable’ … and ultimately quit.

Many schools do not offer a ‘start-up’ , Introductory or Novice class - and this may be due to logistical constraints. If they do cater for beginners though, then it’s a wonderful situation for the students, they can all dip their toes in the water, without fear of drowning, and slowly build the foundation needed to experience success in the more challenging environments/classes. 

We are all different - we are all unique - each of us will ultimately walk their own individual path. Some are 'naturals' at this thing, but struggle at that other thing. In recognising this ... perhaps we can move away from being so hard on ourselves - so self-critical, that we start buying into the idea that we cannot achieve. Walk easily ... the road is long ... and full of possibility. - JBW

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