In this episode, I am talking about speaking anxiety and second language speaking anxiety.
Speaking anxiety is in my life but so is the passion for communication.
We are emotional beings. But that’s all been said. The focus of this blog is to look at learning from the emotional perspective. The idea of emotional intelligence embraces being aware of your own emotions as well as the emotional states of others, and the ability to manage those emotions. I don’t really subscribe to “managing” the emotions view, for I think that emotions are a little bit too wild for that, and I don’t want to restrict them – what I can do though, is work with them. The emotional energy is highly plaint – you can tweak it if you have been practicing patience with yourself. It all starts with self, with the emotional experiences of Self. The way you treat yourself is reflected in what you are able to perceive as your reality – what kind of reality are you experiencing? First of all, it’s an emotional reality. From my own experience, I tend to focus more on what I feel and how I feel, and then comes the physical reality. If my emotional state says I feel wonderful, then everything else becomes the extension of this feeling, and the way I see the external objects, is positive. But then again, the objects and other external agents can influence my emotional state too. So, it works both ways.
When it comes to learning, I found that my emotional experience is the very context, the very substance in which learning shapes itself. In which the very outcome of it is conceived. Even though I learn things primarily for the pleasure of doing so, I also learn things to achieve and accomplish the ends that are of interest to me.
It’s been shown that optimism and joy facilitate learning. So it seems we are better off cultivating these two. I believe that how much joy you feel is directly proportional to how much care you take of yourself. And this one rubs against the idea of self-love. The emotional experience of self-love.
The emotional experience of self-love can be learned. It’s not an easy thing to experience if all you’ve done to date was crap all over yourself. Now you have to restructure your pathways, break your habits, install new ones, practice being healthier, and all in all, become a different person. Self-love only sounds easy.
But one of its rewards is the improved emotional state. This improved state can be characterized as hope mixed with positive regard mixed with general optimism. Quite a concoction. I found that in this state, I start feeling good about myself and my anilities which then morphs into the desire to learn. The desire to learn, when it is elicited internally, and is stimulated by a dose of the emotional experience of self-love, is the beginning of mastery and a positive learning experience. This emotional tone starts to influence the physical environment of the learner which becomes manifest in supportive interactions that lead to synergistic learning within the group.
Learning synergy is a self-reinforcing and powerful tool for accelerating the learning process. It’s the opposite of competition because it presupposes cooperation.
Both competition and cooperation can facilitate learning, but I do believe that cooperation is much more powerful because it unites, as opposed to competition that takes the experience further along the individualistic continuum, and sometimes leading to isolation and emotional pain.
It’s all about balance in the end. Balance things out, find what works, try new approaches. But most importantly, explore the idea of self-love and start practicing it. In small ways perhaps – eat well, stroke yourself, talk to yourself in a soothing way, tell yourself you are confident even though it may sound like one hot damn of a tale in the beginning.
In Japanese pottery, when they need to mend a broken pot, they use molten gold to put into the broken places thus making the object whole again. This is a form of art called kentsukoroi. It’s believed that the object becomes more beautiful once it’s broken – because now it can be reshaped into something more artistic and more elaborate. Into something that is riveting, fascinating.
There is a deeper philosophy to it – namely, that humans are the same. What if brokenness is an opportunity for art? What if beauty is a fluid concept? Beauty grows.
When you pour the gold into cracks – you are the artist and the art. You are the one who delights in it. You are the one who gets to experience the process of this. You have such a glorious opportunity.
Today, I decided to look at learning from the perspective of this Japanese art form. What if learning is the gold in the human pottery. Of course the definition of learning must be expanded. We have labels, we operate in labels. What exactly do we call learning? The answer is subjective and multiverse. It’s tailored to the specific person.
But the general idea of learning embraces everything. Learning about yourself. Learning about the things that are going on within you. Learning about the objects. Learning the kinesthetic experience of life. Learning to be sharp in your senses. Learning to be fascinated.
Then, there is the kind of learning that will move you forward if you are stuck in an emotional experience. Some would call it trauma. Let’s say there is a natural connection a human being can feel when they are born, and then it turns into trust, and then it turns into some mechanism that allows an individual to function, and more than that, to thrive. I believe that despite everything that happens, the crazy things, there are powerful and benevolent forces at work – in nature and in us. If only we learn to feel…
What if we learn about ourselves, release judgment of ourselves. That will make us understand others better. By going deep into learning ourselves, think about the kind of transformation we could create. It’s a beautiful thing, and science supports it, that the neurons in our body are plastic. It means we are everything and nothing at the same time. It means that at any moment, as long as we have time, we can go about reshaping ourselves. Into a best version, because I believe there are more than one best version of you.
So learning is not only academic. Education is not an institution. Mastery is not something you grab and hold on to. Everything is continually fluid. It means ultimate freedom, it means, in essence, we are ultimate freedom.
To learn something is to allow that freedom to express itself. Learning is the pursuit and at the same time the means of the pursuit.
You learn to think new thoughts that are loving. You learn to embrace yourself. You learn to weave compassion around yourself. And that makes you an efficient learner of whatever discipline you choose. I would say learning this basic self-love is what brings you vis-à-vis with yourself, and the question is, are you ready to explore more? Are you ready to open more? The more I open to myself, the more I open to others. The more I open to others, the more I open to the experiences I always wanted to have. Things that are important for me. But they may be too big for the narrow opening of what I allow in. So, I learn. To open. I learn.
This blog is about what I found while I was in the imagination land. It was damn spectacular. The first expression of imagination is freedom.
Freedom is always there. And I have been striving for this one thing like it is the sweetest carrot dangling before my soul.
Since my life looks like a passel of institutions that are trying to fit me into a box, I have come to see the box, hate the box, be annoyed by the box, ignore the box, find the box unimaginably boring, try to get rid of the box, paint the box. I think I will have achieved something when I learn to have fun with the box.
On that train, in that car, I would close my eyes and curiously explore what was going on with my thoughts, but what was even more interesting was that all those thoughts, ideas, potential new thoughts, were made into clay by my imaginative ability. Instantly, I was creating scenes in my mind that were detailed and crocheted with opportunities. I could construct sensual experiences, right there in my mind, that would spring to life and even change my emotions.
I was fascinated.
What are the links between imagination and learning?
Fun ones, for sure.
You visualize yourself being super amazing at your field of proficiency. This alone changes your emotional tone to a more positive one. Keep up with this practice for the most elite athletes use it too to keep themselves awesome at what they do.
You can take anything you want to learn and turn it into a bunch of creative activities. For example, you can do lessons for yourself, with picnics, and music and colors and different mind maps and doodling….. You can think of how you can reward yourself after your super exciting study session.
Yesterday, in the bookshop, I was so excited to assemble random pieces of information and beautiful language in a short amount of time. Also, it feels right to be around boox. I’d say bookshops are my natural environment – fiction is what I read when I feel naughty, non-fiction when I thirst for education. Boox have been the single most important factor of my personal development, and I am simply in love with reading.
I am going to start learning speed reading so I can become a better learner. The more I think about learning, the more obvious it seems that that is the area I should focus my career around. Career. It’s never too late to grab one.
So as I was browsing through the boox, all the while reading something nice here and there (Mark Twain’s Million pound bank note is the short story I highly, highly recommend), learning for example, that lefties are better at fencing because they confuse the heck out of righties, and smiling like a Cheshire all the while, I came across a book that’s called
I started to thumb through it out of my Cheshire curiosity and there were so many interesting things in there. I was completely fascinated. I have never really focused on translation as my sole professional practice but I have always been fascinated. Whenever I would get orders for translation, I would always learn a great deal of details about …everything. And exercise my creativity. I would say translation is a very powerful creative exercise which requires linguistic and some methodological proficiency. You have to know certain tricks to be good at it and know which resources to use, all of which is quite learnable.Continue reading
I have a good friend who is super-creative. It feels like a breath of fresh air to talk to him (or more like getting high on something extraodinary). I am so attuned to his creativity because recently I have been noticing something that I used to ignore before –
The uniformity of thinking among teenagers who learn English and their teachers as well.
I do believe that every single person on earth is exquisitely creative and with a huge potential to express that creativity in all sorts of fullfilling ways, but something does happen along the way (something like school perhaps) that cuts the creative impulses into shreds and puts everyone into a box from which it gets harder and harder to escape as the years roll on.
I find it sad when a teenager tells me they cannot come up with an idea for an essay.
Creativity is a necessary skill right now. Tony Buzan, who is a brain expert and all round a nice guy, came up with mInd mapping. Mind mapping works on two principles of association and imagination which is how the brain loves to learn. Association and Imagination. How can a human being with a brain that works on the basis of these two, ever not be creative? It is because we were not trained NATURALLY – we were not trained to use association and imagination – we were trained out of it. We were trained to get to the right answer (whatever that is) and feel horrible about ourselves if we failed (another strange concept) to arrive at it. Black and white thinking, no nothing in between,
So, Tony Buzan developed mind mapping which allows the brain to be its creative self. You have to use colour though to reap the most benefits from drawing it, but also, you have to write the words (preferably one word at a time) close to the branches and close to each other, so your brain links up the words and can come up with more and more associations. I find this technique of mind mapping fascinating and extremely useful. You can use it to compose creative essays or just answers to questions. With mind mapping, you go deeper, and not just one step deeper, but a million of steps (depending on how much time you have to draw your mind map). You can use it to explore any sort of idea. Plus, it makes it easier to remember things. It’s a gorgeous way to structure and ENJOY your learning process and the process of idea exploration.
I think mind mapping is one of the most genius ways to hack learning!
Love. There are moments when you feel you love everything and everyone with an almost erotic kind of love. I love to experience this state of consciousness – it feels like it envelops the whole universe with its grand but soft intention to love. I love filling up with this positive intention, and openness. It starts to rise just beneath my skin until I am a lump of super energy that does not doubt itself, and wants to go after whatever it is that is experientially attractive. This loving energy is synonymous with the energy of pure potential. Feeling it is motivating, because it is motivation in and of itself.
This energy is creatively powerful and gives birth. Every day, I ask myself what is this day for? Every day I want to feel this energy again, the sharp and unstoppable motivation to learn and do something. To grow into something greater. This energy can be either intensified or allayed. You can choose what to do with it, but the management skills to handle it as well as tapping into it in the first place require lots of practice and willingness to practice, and of course patience. Patience, patience,
To tap into it. You can go with something physical. Sure, meditative states and deep relaxation may help you get that creative charge, but I found that love making or even dancing, or any sort of physical act that you enjoy and are willing to do for long stretches of time, will work. I am not sure if this is the same as flow state, because flow state is characterised by mastery and what I am talking about may not include this aspect at all.
To use it. You may try and “memorise” this state by for example, creating an anchor (tapping a part of your body when you are in this state and then when you want to re-experience it, you tap that part again), You may put yourself into this state through some kind of physical act and then start working on your projects. The undeniable advantage of working in this state is that you no longer put focus on wondering who do you think you are to do this, that and the other. In other words, you work on your creative projects while your self-doubts are out for a walk.
I find it a fantastic learning hack!