Investopedia defines the last mile as: “The last mile refers to the short geographical distance that must be spanned to provide services to end-user customers.” It typically is the most challenging and costly step in completing deliveries to our houses. Whether we are buying goods from a website or from a local store. If a company does not figure out the steps needed in the last mile, they will be unable to offer ths to us. Resulting in no package delivery at all.
How does geography and learning connect? They don’t. Where they do connect revolves around the “most challenging” aspect of completing any activity. And if we do not complete this last mile, our new learning never provides us any value.
In a conversation with a friend, I shared with him my frustration of how long it takes to “really” learn something. He asked “what do you mean”? Where someone tells you something of value but you “just don’t get it”. With time, I could get better at describing exactly what they were saying. But something was always missing.
Sometimes it would take weeks. Other times months. And more often, years. What I find is that you can learn about things quickly. But it takes much longer to understand them. The context and nuance around their value. The depth of leverage that a new learning carries. The importance of why it was shared only occurs much later than first exposure to an idea, resource, approach, concept, process, or skill.
Fusing new knowledge with intuition takes time to make the new knowledge instinctive or habitual. We need time to figure out how new learning fits into our world. Is only part of a new learning helpful to us given our daily responsibilities? If so, what part and when should we use it? Judging if we need to use a new learning sometimes is difficult as well. Sometimes it takes practice before we use a new learning properly to experience its full promise.
New learning could lead to more questions. Or what we are now seeing cannot be explained in an hour. The topic may be too broad and vast. Our current interests may initially over value things less important. Leaving time and repeated exposure to new concepts necessary to really discover what is of value. Our resistance to change or be open minded threatens new learning, every time, during this last mile.
Understanding new learning should always be our goal. Yet the challenges of the “last mile” of new learning makes it the most difficult to achieve. My friend shared with me that all of this has happened to him multiple times as well. Bring me comfort in knowing that we are more alike than we are different. All struggling together to find ways to experience life more fully, during our short years on this earth.