Monday, June 5, 2017

TheArtOfLearning

I recently read The Art of Learning:  An Inner Journey of Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin (2008).  


I picked this book up expecting a discussion of learning from an epistemological and/or ontological perspective.  Rather, it was mostly an autobiographical account by JW of his experiences as a world champion chess master, and, later, as a world champion martial artist.  In the process of sharing his story, JW shares what he has learned about learning and how he has applied that to his own development.

My biggest takeaways:

  • Praise and reinforcement of EFFORT, more than for achievement, is critical in the development of resilience, stick-to-it-ness, and grit in children/students.
  • Truly world class performers (in any field) have learned to master the psychological component of competition, particularly the ability to self-regulate under stress or duress.
  • Overcoming/Managing setbacks and mistakes is a hallmark of world class performers.
  • Masters/Experts in any field can at once see the macro and the micro.
  • Being curious about simplicity and the banal often generates innovation and creativity.

My favorite quote:
“When aiming for the top, your path requires an engaged, searching mind.  You have to make obstacles spur you to creative new angles in the learning process.  Let setbacks deepen your resolve.”  (p. 131)

Though not what I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this work.

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