What do you remember from back when you were 6 months old?
Most of us can’t describe a memory that long ago and so we falsely believe that we have none. The reality is that we all have many vivid memories from that stage of our life.
Wiggle your fingers. Grab a pen. When exactly did we learn and then remember how to do those things?
We tend to think of memory as being only the things we can declare, describe or explain, but everyday we use memories that fall outside of that description. We walk, we type, we talk. Can any of us describe how we do those things? We might try to describe the action or the techniques one might use but fundamentally, we can’t describe how. Many of our memories are non-declarative. No one learns to ride a bike by reading a book and while we can read books that might tell us how to swing a golf club or draw, only by doing those things can we actually learn how.
Just like when we were children, most of our initial doing will involve a lot of failure. It’s difficult, but we keep getting back up and practicing and over time things get better. Mastery finally comes when we stop declaring the steps and do it entirely from our experiential memory. Almost all skills can not be mastered except by doing. As as we enter this New Year, take a moment to reflect what things you’re learning by doing? What things need more practice?
Happy New Year!