Learning Can Be One Of The Happiest Experiences You Have

Learning Can Be One Of The Happiest Experiences You Have

Every one of us has been in a classroom where someone we know gets great results all of the time seemingly without much effort. Maybe the amount of effort is comparable to what we are putting into our studies, yet, we are not doing as well as they are. Most of us would have chalked it up as `innate’ intelligence. What does this word `innate’ really mean? Does it mean that the one who gets better grades is naturally (maybe genetically) smarter than we are? Or, does it mean that we are just somehow destined to be less smart because of something within us?


Professionals in the area of intelligence assessment have had a difficult time agreeing on what intelligence really is, and where it comes from. Some say that intelligence is innate, others say that it is something gained from experience, and yet others say that it is a combination of these two factors. But, in terms of schooling, whether we are deemed intelligent or not does not matter. Let me write this again in case you skimmed over it too fast the first time. Whether we are deemed intelligent or not does not matter! Intelligence cannot and will never replace self-disciplined effort.


Self-discipline is not `discipline’ or ‘punishment’ administered to oneself. Self-discipline is more than the meanings of the two words stuck together.


To be an effective student, we must develop and enhance a sense of control over our own results in school. The sense of control comes from our ability to understand the challenges, select an appropriate course of action and act. These are the skills necessary and as you use them you will develop certain characteristics – the same characteristics as the self-disciplined person.


Let’s look at an example, a self-disciplined musician is one that first chooses an instrument with which to perform. Her dreams are to become good at playing that instrument and perhaps she would like to perform for other people. She plans her training by selecting a music school and teacher, scheduling classes, purchasing the instrument etc. She engages in the hours of daily practice that are required to teach her nervous system how to function with that instrument. She maintains a regular schedule of practice both on the days when she can barely wait to practice and on those days when she feels tired and discouraged. During her practice sessions she notices that some skills are easier to master than others. She changes her approach to bring the lagging skills up to speed and accuracy, always keeping sight of the goal. She changes herself, her actions and her environment to accommodate for these unexpected variations in her skills.


Self-discipline requires us to have faith in our ability to do things, to have a sense of competence, to have a sense of confidence. With self-discipline comes an internal locus of control; this is a technical way of saying that our control center is inside rather than outside ourselves. We believe we can be in control. We may be goal-directed, active, optimistic, decisive, self-assured, friendly, successful, and happy. We will address each characteristic, and how that characteristic relates to an internal locus of control.


Having goals is crucial. Being direct by those goals is too. Goal setting is not a hard process; in fact most people already do some of the things necessary for goal setting. Unfortunately, it is often not taken to completion, and as a result, neither are the goals. You can have all of the other characteristics, but if you are not goal-directed, it is still possible not to be successful. Direction is absolutely essential for success. The direction in which we choose to act is crucial.


Being active simply means that we have a tendency to do things, rather than sitting by and letting things happen to us. Being active allows us to engage in the activities that will bring us joy and happiness from life. A person with an internal locus of control is prone to action. A person with an external locus of control is not. Being passive simply means watching our chances pass us by.


Sometimes as we grow up we are taught that change is out of our control. If we have been told this often enough, and in enough different ways, we begin to believe it. Unless we begin to accept the idea that what we do will bring positive results, it would be possible to stop taking action. By believing that change is out of our control we begin to develop an external locus of control. People who have an external locus of control tend to become frustrated. If they are frustrated long enough, they give up trying.


The term ‘learned helplessness’ almost describes itself. We can learn to become helpless even when we try to do well. If we receive poor results, it hurts, but we try again anyway. If the second time we try it differently and it does not work, we feel worse. After many unsuccessful attempts, there may come a time when we stop trying, believing, “It doesn’t matter what I do, I just can’t!” That is learned helplessness. Reaching a state of learned helplessness happens much more quickly if someone in our environment (parents, teachers, and so on) tend to give us the wrong kind of feedback.


If the feedback is person oriented it might sound like “Gee, you really tried hard, but it seems that you are not that good at math.” Task oriented feedback on the other hand would sound more like “Gee, you had trouble with that type of problem on this test, you did this instead of that, could you explain to me what you were thinking when you decided to do it this way?” By contrast, if another kind of feedback, called task oriented feedback, it tends to produce success. Task oriented feedback allows you to become better assess your ability at a certain type of task at the present time, make adjustments, and gradually improve.


Optimistic people learn how to give themselves the right kind of feedback, and thus get better results. And, of course, better results tend to produce more optimism. If you wish, you can immediately take charge and begin to re-learn how to be optimistic. This feeling is a direct result of the power to make our own choices, and be able to act on them. When you retrain our mind to think with a more internal locus of control, you will become much more powerfully optimistic about yourself and your future. This power allows us to truly be ourselves without fear of what people might think or say. It is the power to do and think what we want. This power allows us to expect the best for ourselves because that is what we want, and that is what we deserve. So, if we do try something, and fail at it, and try again, and fail, it becomes our choice whether we continue or not, not the choice of another. The choice to continue will ensure that we will not develop learned helplessness and an external locus of control. The choice to continue will allow the continuation of feedback and learning. The choice to continue will allow us to grow in a direction that we wish to grow in. It gives us power.


When we know we have control in a situation, we will be decisive. We will make decisions on how to act, because we know that our actions will work. Most people are naturally this way when they are working on something that they want to work on, and that something can only be done by them and no one else. For instance a little boy who loves to play soccer will naturally demonstrate this attitude. If the little boy is kicking a soccer ball by himself in a field, he knows that it is he that is causing the ball to move. He kicks the ball and receives great satisfaction from knowing he is directing the ball. He is the one who decides how to kick the ball. He chooses the foot, the strength of the kick, and the direction he intends the ball to go. He chooses everything, certain that he can try again and again until he gets the desired result.


Now imagine the same boy in a situation in which he had an overbearing coach who told him how to stand, where to look when he kicked, how to place his foot, how hard to swing his foot, where to aim the ball etc. What would happen to the boy if the coach never ceased in the direction? The little boy would never learn anything useful. He would never be able to use his own judgment. He would never be able to assess his own behaviour as being directed by himself, because it is not. When it comes time that the little boy must act on his own without the coach, he would not have had the practice to judge and assess for himself. He would have great difficulty if things did not go well when he tried to do the same thing that the coach told him to do. The feedback would relate to the coach’s action because, in the example, the coach is the decision maker.


Each student is very much like the little boy with the soccer ball. We too must learn to assess the feedback we receive and use this information to change our approach to things. In order to do that, we must make the necessary decisions for ourselves. If we make errors, we will know exactly how we came to them (because we used our own mental processes). We will have a much clearer understanding of what happened and why it happened, and learning will result from these errors. If we learn to change our approach when we produce errors, we will eventually score.


An internal locus of control allows us to be much surer of our environment and ourselves. Even though we are not all-powerful and cannot control everything that exists, the feeling that we can effectively alter our environment to suit us better makes us more confident and sure.


Picture a puppet with strings attached to its head, arms and legs. Now picture 10 puppeteers, all with controlling strings attached to the puppets arms and legs. These ten puppeteers are pulling all in different directions trying to get the puppet to do different things. Now, picture yourself as the puppet. How do you feel? We are constantly being tugged by the expectations of other people for our behaviours. There is always something someone wants us to do. Our parents want us to grow up and be a certain way. Our friends want us to act in a way that suits them. Advertisers want us to act like shoppers. Teachers in schools want us to act like model students. There is nothing wrong with fulfilling certain people’s expectations. There is nothing wrong with altering our behaviour to fit in with the behaviour of others. In fact, this is how we maintain peaceful societies.


We must remember that no matter what others want us to do, it is always our choice what we do and how we do it. Developing an internal locus of control is very much like the puppet cutting its own strings and learning to move by itself. We too can cut our strings and begin to move on our own. All it takes is the realization that with every situation there comes the potential for action. It becomes our action, by choice, that builds the internal locus of control.


I have never known a self-disciplined person with an internal locus of control who wasn’t friendly. In fact, it is the person with an external locus of control who has trouble with friendship. This trouble comes as a result of the feeling that something is in control of his/her life. Often that something else is someone else. If we feel as if other people control us, we are less likely to share our true feelings with others. We feel that at any time we could be betrayed because other people control us for their benefit, not ours. Why would anyone want to spend time with anyone else if there was the constant threat of being controlled for someone else’s benefit.

If, however, we choose to retain control for ourselves, every relationship that we engage in is subject to our control. This does not mean the other person in the relationship is in our control, but the relationship itself is subject to our actions. An internal locus of control allows us to realize that in every relationship we have control over our own actions. This control allows us to be in charge of every action, reaction and response that we give the other person.


When we have this feeling of being effective in a relationship it allows us to be much more positive towards the other person. You bring yourself into every relationship you have. If you feel that you are the type of person that is happy, directed and powerful, then you will bring this into the relationship with you. Other people notice it. It is contagious. They like it, and call it being friendly.


It is absolutely necessary for us to clarify our reason for living. Once we know what we are going to do with our life, we are able to set goals that are meaningful and we can thereby become a success. A definition of success that I would like you to use is “the progressive realization of a meaningful, personal goal.”


Having meaningful goals refers to the relation between our goals and our purpose. Everyone of us has a purpose or a reason for living. As we discussed earlier, the progressive realization of a goal that is not set by us can be deeply frustrating and stressful.


When we set our own goals, then we can formulate strategies to achieve them. Once we have these strategies written down, we can schedule activities and do them. It is this path of goal attainment that allows us to become truly successful in anything we want.


Self-disciplined people who choose something they really love are going to spend a good portion of their life working on it. Everyone who is doing something that he/she really wants to do is happy. That is exactly what an internal locus of control allows us to do, something that we really want. The internal locus of control allows us to choose something personal, spend our lives working on it, and reap all of the benefits that come from doing it.


Contrast this to a person with an external locus of control; that is, a person who is disciplined from outside. These people usually end up doing a job that they would rather not be doing. If we were doing a job that we would rather not be doing, how do you suppose we would feel? The people that end up waiting for things to happen to them end up in some job that does not suit them, with a boss that does not suit them, and a lifestyle that does not suit them. Is it any wonder that so many people complain about their crummy jobs?


Realize that you along can make the choice to learn the things that will get you to where you really want to be. Once you know what that is, and you know what you must learn to get there, learning can be one of the happiest experiences you have.


The characteristics of a self-disciplined learner are the results of adopting an internal locus of control. At the same time, these characteristics reinforce our sense of control over ourselves. The result is that as we gradually become more goal-directed, become active, optimistic, and so on, we develop a stronger sense of control over our own activities and successes; as we do this, we become more self-disciplined and we witness greater success in our lives. But each of us operates in a context and we move on to looking at our surroundings and learning the importance of controlling our environments. It is in looking at our surroundings and analyzing them for their usefulness that we can begin to take control of some of the suggestive influences in our lives and remove many of the obstacles to our success.



Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.


Source: https://master331.medium.com/learning-can-be-one-of-the-happiest-experiences-you-have-3dab813138c7

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