Well, it seems I have been bestowed the final blog of 2015 so I would like to start by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and New Year to you and your family. Now the serious bit!
My first thought about the subject matter for this blog was that of my Grandad’s funeral and how I overcame learnt nervousness and anxiety to deliver a memorable Eulogy. However, although the personal development may be inspiring, the context in which it took place felt a little morbid for Christmas. Instead, I would like to enlighten you about Juggling, the Rubik’s Pyramid and the significance of asking for help.
I remember myself at 12 years old as being clumsy with a lack of coordination and special awareness (not much has changed in 22 years!). Instead of our normal drama lesson, we were allocated a half day to learn a circus act. I chose to learn how to juggle and stood by the doorway for much of the four hours dropping the third ball to much frustration. Between the teachers and pupils, I can guarantee someone would have been able to teach me or at least could have modelled my actions to match the teacher as a starting point. I didn’t ask and continued in the same fashion, expecting a different outcome that never availed.
Whilst temping in an office in my mid-twenties, I was given a set of juggling balls as a secret Santa gift. My mind went back to that day as a frustrated teenager and I set the goal of mastering the skill there and then. I returned home and immediately searched on YouTube ‘how to juggle’. Finding a suitable video that broke the skill down slowly and in defined stages, I began to work through the steps; first starting with two balls and then adding in the third. A handy tip here to save time is to practice in front of your bed so the doomed to drop third ball lands on the mattress and in arms reach! Within two hours I had mastered the basic steps and was able to juggle for 10 second bursts or so. I knew I needed help, found it and achieved the goal I set. A real comparison to 22 years previously.
Move on to 2015 and a similar experience occurred. I picked up the Rubik’s Pyramid in the office a few weeks ago and initially just played with various moves to no avail. I knew from watching others complete them in seconds on television that there must be a way of completing it using set sequences and algorithms and I didn’t have the knowledge (or spatial awareness!) to learn them in isolation. Flicking again to YouTube, I found a video made of sequences and began to watch and complete at the same time. It was actually quite shocking to learn that the key pieces and whole bottom row could be solved in little to no time using a set sequence. I soon got to the stage where only four pieces were out of place. I still need to watch that final piece of the video to complete the pyramid and this is very much work in progress as work and under preparing for Christmas takes precedence!
The message I want to leave you with is that it is highly unusual for an individual to stay on a learning curve and progress in any walk of life; be it a career, musical instrument or sport without help from others. I’m sure we all have memories of significant people in our past that have helped develop us significantly one way or another.
The key here is to accept that a lack of skill or knowledge should not be seen as a personal failure and asking for help to overcome the shortcomings is not a sign of weakness. In my experience, it is those who go through life believing they are the finished article and hide their weaknesses that rarely succeed and are often the most insecure for it.
Of course not everyone is enlightened to the importance of asking for help and some may not be in a position to. My thoughts go immediately to those that are not as fortunate as us over the festive period; namely the elderly with little family or friends to take comfort in or the homeless. On the flip side to the main point, I believe we have a duty to offer help to those who are not in a position to ask. For everyone else, find something that you want to achieve, play with it and then ask someone for help. I can guarantee you will be juggling, Rubik’s cubing or nailing that piece of consultancy work in no time.