Adult learning is much different than anything we experienced in school. As adults, interest or necessity drive much of what we choose to learn. Skills for a new job as well as learning how to roast a leg of lamb in the oven would both qualify.
Tangled in this journey, is envisioning the outcome. What we hope to accomplish. This is different than reading a work of fiction for pleasure. Or spending a week in a foreign city for the first time. While exposure to experience always carries with it some learning as a byproduct, let’s focus on learning where we want something to happen.
What I find in learning with an outcome in mind, is that there is always an underlying structure to any new domain we enter. First on a high level. To understand the different pieces of knowledge one must acquire and then learning the relationships between them. How they should fit together to deliver an outcome.
Then we get exposed/immersed in the nuance and detail of things related to what we need to know. Learning not only the steps we must follow but also the order to attempt/complete them. Understanding the logic of the steps we learn are necessary to work within the structure of the domain of interest to us at this time can be quite helpful.
From there we need to begin to practice the steps. Much harder than understanding the structure & high level explanations of what we now know. Fighting the steps along the way. Always trying to find short cuts to achieve our outcome sooner.
Our impatience gives away the fact that none of what we learned has been internalized. We are simply going through the motions. Wondering if we will achieve any success.
Discovering the path is the big “unlock” for it reveals the steps we must follow. A way for us to accomplish what we set out to do. It’s the path that defines the probability of our success. Not the individual steps independent of each other. Domain knowledge by itself never provides leverage. Only paths, comprised of steps in sequence, is where we develop effectiveness.
One more step is required to complete this sequence. It’s only when we trust the steps in the discovered path, without looking every minute for the outcome, where progress really begins to occur. As with much of life, one step at a time.