Mark Twain notoriously said once that “If we learned walking and talking the way we learned to see and write, most of us would have had an unique limp and a typical stutter”. This would have become a signature style of our personality. Fortunately we learn to walk and talk at an age when we are innocent and curious — a combo package with which we are born. Then our ‘well-wishers’ beginning with our parents slowly teach us what is right, wrong, good, bad, smart, dumb that we form a monochrome picture Kampala International University.
2 of the very most difficult skills in our life we learn — walking and talking when our mind are still developing. In fact these 2 skills once developed are a part of the motor muscle memory and helps in further cognitive development. If we can see the enormity of the learning how to be achieved at an age when we are least equipped, it is amazing to realise that ‘we’ actually ‘learnt’ to do both when we did not know what walk and talk meant. We were obviously not even aware of its utility and most important we were ‘blissfully ignorant’ of the ‘price’ we had to pay to learn these skills. It is no surprise that we trained them perfectly, simply because we were kids. No wonder when an adult tell his friend that she is going to learn something, the normal response is ‘Hey!! Are your kidding around? ha Yes seriously speaking we must arise the little one within us to learn. The enormity of this realisation gets even larger when you realise that people learning beyond walking to other styles of exercise and motion do it with such a non-standard level of expertise. We all walk (which is a permanent state of asymmetry being forced to be obviated by this forward motion) in a standard form related to our height and biography beat. There is no racial or neurological difference when we first became bipeds in our childhoods. Even as grow into teenage life and finally adults we develop unique types of walking and unique habits about and thought patterns towards walking. Some enjoy while some loathe walking. Some do it as a routine while some problem it while doing it as an exercise. These thought patterns towards the skill of walking and its purpose and utility in our lives have also been learned. But unfortunately we learned this all during our adult lives.
The story with skill of talking is very much similar. All children pick up the sounds and the childhood vocabulary and revel in finding out the partnership between a sound and the object/person it is related to. It is a crazy and scary thing for an adult to even attempt to learn ordinary manner but it works well precisely for the same reason. A toddler has a vocabulary of upto 50 words which he can correlate. He babbles in his baby talk unassumingly but with absolute joy, and which typically only parents can grasp. Imagine us trying to linkup 50 sounds to 50 objects/person without any pattern emerging and also without an evident purpose and that too doing it with joy. But that is the real secret. The further learning in the field of language from talking to learning alphabets, sentence structure, etc. are not so fun filled and fraught with all evils of adult learning. It is a well-documented finding that speaking in public is one of the greatest fears most adults suffer from. Of course there are adults who enjoy the field and take it up to and including level of a hobby or a full time profession.
That brings us to the point that adults unlike Kids only finds about them what he really enjoys. Alternatively the benefits of the learnings being evident and translates into some worldly advantages either in career or personal life can be an equally strong motivator. However and this is the one big ‘if’. If the learning is painful and fraught with lot of effort, it can mood down the motivation. We still find adults who are ready to work hard and put in the effort. Most of them except a few then met a great leveller called Failure. Most adults just don’t especially like this word and refuse to get associated with it. The refusal to fail prevents us from putting in the effort to learn even when we know it is manageable and in fact useful. The joy of the outcome does not enable enduring the pain of the learning. The trade-off OR the ‘price’ is too big to pay. We have a brilliant skill of rationalising (also learned from our role models in life) which helps us explain away such decisions so your remembered memories of such decisions is self-effacing. That is exactly why many of the soft skills and even updated knowledge on your fields of specialisation can be very challenging to learn. This is akin to a child who favors to be on his fours and neglecting to stand up and walk. We have lost that purity, the curiosity, the joy of learning at that church called Ego, my self-image which is not fully true.