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Recapture the Joy of Learning
by Rex Steven Sikes

The most pitiful thing there is is when people think there is nothing new to learn. There is always something new. Every day is a rare and unprecedented opportunity to learn and to have fun. Children learn an incredible amount because they are open and unbiased. A child can play with a stick and delight and all the while the child is learning. Learning to move and to coordinate itself. A child can watch the same movie over and over and still shudder with delight, still shiver with fear and laugh with abandon even though the child knows what is coming. Children are learning machines and have untold hours of play and joy until of course they are trained to behave like young adults and are confined to desks and told to act appropriately. Adults look for the pay off kids simply learn for the sheer pleasure it brings them. As adults we need to recapture the sense of joy and adventure we had as children, we need to rekindle a sense of growing and contributing.

The athlete seeks his or her personal best, the athlete pushes oneself and excels. No one is more disappointed than athlete who gives up without pushing harder. If an athlete can seek to excel so should we as adults. We should do it for its own reward, but we need to do it a bit differently, we need to do it like children.

Do you realize that by current estimates if you read one hour a day in your field that within three years you would be a top expert in your field, within five a top expert in the country and within ten the world. Turn your car into a learning university to listen to tapes that promote growth and well being. Listen and learn. time is the only commodity we have, once it is gone it is too late, we must take advantage of time and invest in our selves.

It is really sad when NLPers don't have resources or are blinded by beliefs, rules and adult prejudices. It is exciting when people reach deep into themselves and produce the results they want, and delight themselves and others.

One idea can change the entire world. We need a better class of thinkers, innovators, juicier people with explosive curiosity and creativity. Fun loving people who can change the world. Seriousness is truly a disease. We need giggles and shudders and risk takers. Exploration is the doorway to adventure. Or as Oliver Wendall Holmes said "A mind stretched to a new idea can never go back to its original dimension." Love learning, learn for no reason at all. Love seeking.

Take a walk somewhere you always go and walk there as though it is totally new, pretend you are an anthropologist doing an ethnographic study, making the know elusive and bewildering. See what you notice that you didn't before. Ask yourself questions you might never ask about obvious things. Try walking and only looking no internal dialogue. Slow down your gait or speed it up to notice what you have missed before. Smell the smells you may not have noticed. Do the same thing with driving home or riding a bus. See if you can't open your powers of observation to take in more than you ever realized was there before. Venture into new realms. Take a different way to work or to go home, do something different anything different just for variety. It may seem uncomfortable at first but realize you are interrupting patterns and causing your mind to be stretched in delightful ways. Go back and enjoy a children book you once read. Go back and review.

Watch the same movie a dozen times, or NLP tape and each time approach it fresh, new, you will learn something. When I lived in California and worked in the motion picture business I would go to the same movie 4,5, 10 times. First I would just watch it. If I got hooked into it emotionally I considered it a good picture, captivating. Then I would go back and watch for the way the director constructed it all, I would see it again to concentrate only on the writing, then the acting, then the cinematography and production values. Each time I came away with something I hadn't noticed before. With new intent I noticed new things. By asking myself different questions, or causing my mind to look in a new direction I noticed more and more nuances than I could have ever imagined.

Think about it two people go to the same movie one loves it another hates it and tells you not to go. Are they really talking about the movie? No they are sharing with you what they paid attention to. They are letting you know how their mind works? Valuable information for the NLPer. No movie is truly universally good or bad, there are things about it one likes while another may not. Of course the more sophisticated knowledge one has about what one is discussing, or the more nuances, perhaps the better to make assessment, still it is only opinion. That is why recapturing joy of learning, reading, listening to tapes, attending seminars, going for walks, playing with children, is so vital because it enriches an individual and enables one to pay attention to nuances. Immerse yourself. If you learn any one new concept or idea that you may not have realized before it can be monumental. You can become more creative, you can begin to open doors that you didn't even know existed.

Listen to the same CD over and over - only each time pay attention to a different instrument, how do they intermingle, compliment, each other, support each other, what are they accomplishing together. Try tasting your food in new ways. Tiny bits, savor each morsel, really chew it thirty two times. Discover how you can delight your senses. Take a luxurious bath, uses different scents, candles. Anything that enlivens you and makes you feel better. Read a novel you wouldn't, read a biography of someone you never would, someone repulsive and take their point of view temporarily. Step inside them and see if you can imagine how it would be that they would hold views contrary to your own. You don't have to keep them only try them on to get a different perspective from your own.

Do something you would absolutely never do (keep it legal and safe) just to go beyond your own limits. Push yourself, but do so with a sense of adventure, joy, fun, harmony, health and well being. Discover if by trying some of these things we can't more enliven ourselves to all the opportunities around us we could be missing out on. Find out if we can do better in business, make change more dynamically for ourselves and clients, spice up our relationships with more passion and ecstasy, have more rollicking times with our children.

Fun loving exciting people can change the world. With so much in the news that could discourage us we need to be beacons, lights that glow in the night that show the rest of the world that we can be more alive, more in love, have greater well being and riches, use our brain power more efficiently and most importantly live joyously. Perhaps if we were all just a little more joyous even in the face of adversity, we will make the world a better more wondrous place. Because the truth is it is already a most wondrous place, the sad part is too many people miss it. Recapture the awe struck wonder of a child in what ever you do, bring that spirit to all of your learning and all of your endeavors and you will sore as never before. You will reach untold heights when you break old patterns and habits that have prevented you from being open to new experience. To often we have nominalized a learning or an experience with 'Well that's just X' or we say 'There is nothing new in that." Yet ever moment is new, even an old hand me down cloth is new to someone, often times rare and priceless antiques were discovered by people who knew what to look for when others had considered it only junk. Sometimes subtly and layers hides the core of its value and only to the eye of a trained observer will one begin to notice what is really going on, or what the real value is, to the child it doesn't matter, it is all wonderful even if it seems old to us. My nephew Michael who is three has just completed watching Beauty and the Beast once a day, sometimes twice since it is out on video. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 - 700 times. He still wants to watch it and he still delights every time he does.


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