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Chinese proverb. It says, "Study till old...

Chinese proverb. It says, “Study till old, live till old, and there is still three-tenths studying left to do.” Meaning that no matter how old you are, there is still more studying left to do (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

perseverancePerseverance breeds possibilities. Possibilities make themselves visible when we are optimistic about doing something.  Self-confidence breeds success.  Developing solutions to problems can become our constant mod us operandi if we think positively.  Thinking something is hopeless blocks our thoughts and cripples our creativity.  Being judgmental, especially of one’s own self and one’s abilities, can be self-defeating.  Is the first thing you say to yourself when faced with a problem or decision, “I can’t.”  Stops you in your tracks doesn’t it and you immediately give up trying to do something about the problem.   Also at a certain point when you get older, you are often told that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Perseverance is the key and we now know the brain can and does make new connections as we learn something new no matter what our age.  This is called neuroplasticity.

Perseverance is also necessary when seeking help.  I have come to rely on others who I think know more than I do about somethings like computers and technological devices or who, I think, have more mechanical abilities and even those who I think are physically less challenged than I.  They’re taller and stronger.  Sometimes, however, I still must rely more on myself.  For example, when it comes to computers, I have done two things:  When I do rely on others for help, I review my problem areas and compose questions whose answers I hope will help me get the answers I need to do what I do.  That way I can help myself to some extent and better use the help I get.  Or I try to figure it out by myself with the aid of any material I can find which will explain what I need to have explained at my level.  Even though I feel at times that the time I have spent “trying” to do some things has been useless, I have found that I did acquire some basic knowledge that helps me to understand and use the information I do get if any from other sources.  Learning is a complex process and to achieve it you must persevere.

Sometimes people do not appear to have to persevere at something to master it. Somethings appear to come naturally to others without perseverance, but that is often so because they want you to think that when actually it took blood, sweat, and tears.

For example, after I had finished my graduate schooling, I had to take a comprehensive exam in my area of study in order to be licensed by the state.  This required perseverance.  It was very strictly regulated and offered infrequently in a distant city.  I remember my former boss told me that he had taken it and passed it without studying for it.  I studied anyway for several months as I had been out of school for a couple of years and needed to refresh my memory about important concepts and applicable research studies.  The exam was very difficult and I would not have passed it if I had not persevered and done all the studying I had.  I now think my former boss was setting me up to fail by saying what he did.  I doubt whether he had passed it without studying or that maybe even if he had passed it at all.

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Suspending Judgment

Suspensionofdisbelief suspendingjudgmentSuspending Judgment is necessary if you are going to explore uncharted territory.  Being ready to change your mind if necessary about some things is also important when learning about new things.  It is usually more comfortable to hang on to old beliefs and to “integrate” new findings into them; but you can not usually just do this and at the same time really master the new material.  Be ready to suspend judgment and change your mind about something if it is required in order to understand something new.

Suspending judgment is one giant step towards allowing yourself to experience something new.  Many of us are experienced at making quick judgments and snap decisions.  Doing this effectively shuts us off from exploring the unfamiliar with an open mind.  Recently I experienced eating something that was not a sandwich or a piece of fried chicken with my hands instead of with silverware.  I hesitated.  Silly wasn’t it.  How you eat your food is a matter of habit and it changes with the customs of the people with whom you are having a meal.  I could have spoiled a nice social occasion by being more concerned about how I was eating something than with whom I was eating.

Suspending judgment leads to thinking out of the box.  Brain storming works best when people concentrate on coming up with ideas rather than on prematurely eliminating them by initially passing judgment on them.  Juries are asked to do this when trying someone accused of a crime.  They are asked to suspend making a judgment until all the evidence is in.  Lawyers in picking a jury often have trouble finding people who haven’t already done this based on what they have heard about the case before the trial.  To be open-minded and to suspend judgment is often the best initial approach to any situation.  It is often very embarrassing to find out that you have misjudged someone or something when there is new information revealed that you were not aware of initially.

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