The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Expectations and gaps

When a toddler leans to stand up, the only thing he has in mind is to copy something he sees others do. He’s focused on trying until it works. There is no expectation that it has to be able to stand up.

Eventually, once he’s done it often enough, the expectation will come. It’s an expectation to be able to repeat something one has learned. Mastering the skill happens one try after the other. Failures belong to the process.

As we get into the habit of learning it seems that a shift occurs. The result grows in importance until it becomes more important than the process.

The ability to learn transforms itself into the expectation to succeed right from the start. Beyond this, having learned the skill may lead to an expectation to perform well under any circumstances.

It’s an idea that learning links with succeeding, leading to a requirement to be a hero. It’s a deviation of discipline and performance. A form of arrogance.

One that disconnects us from the process of learning and experiencing.

What’s left then is useless efforts. Learning has become the idea of having to experience discomfort, frustration, and need to push through. Failing now connects with shame. But at least, there is the invested energy and experience of discomfort that allows filling the gap between results and expectations.

There are no shortcuts. Expectations and learning don’t go together.

Engagement and willingness to lean into the process go hand in hand with giving it the time it needs.


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