Can you blog sir?

Keyboard, oilcan and scissors

New website, new blog and lots for me to learn!

How do we learn how to do things? We have a go, it doesn’t work, we try again. We hit it harder thinking that it should work, it must work, it’s supposed to work. The same with this blogging software – I try something – it doesn’t work, I try again. I am old enough to know that if I hit the keyboard any harder it won’t make much difference. That reminds me that maybe I need to buy a new keyboard. The one I have has keys that get stuck – has anyone ever oiled a computer keyboard before to make the keys easier to use? Maybe they did on the old typewriters – I am sure people used to get them ‘serviced’!

So I thought I knew how to use this software because I know the general way these things ‘think’. It’s the same with people – we think we know how they are supposed to work. When people don’t do what we want them to we often adopt the old techniques of trying again – we tell them what we want them to do again, we say it louder and then we begin to shout! When you get to the point of going to hit them harder we really need to back off.

I attended a training course last weekend and watched a demonstration that was really interesting. The trainer demonstrated a technique. She then checked to see if it worked, or how well it had worked. When it hadn’t worked the first time she went straight for – change the technique! Whoa wait a minute I thought. What about the part where we try again, and again and again until it does work? Aren’t we brought up with the mantra – ‘if at first you don’t succeed – try, try and try again’? Aren’t we supposed to try at least 3 times in exactly the same way? Otherwise we might get branded as ‘not trying hard enough’.

When I was a teacher I used to say to my students that ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’ and they would all jump in with the classic response of ‘try, try and try again’. I would say ‘nah… if at first you don’t succeed… go home and do something else!’ Obviously we couldn’t just walk out of school and go home every time something didn’t work first time – but the secret is to change what you do slightly, try another approach.

We are often reminded of Edison and the way he kept trying to make the first lightbulb. We are told that he tried 500 times (or 1000 times depending upon how you Google it!). He learned 500 ways how not to make a light bulb before he found how to do it. The trick is that if at first you don’t succeed, make a few adjustments and try something slightly different. In effect you could say that Edison kept giving up – in fact he gave up 499 times because he kept trying something slightly different. He had to teach himself how to make a lightbulb, he had to keep learning from what wasn’t working. First you have to be aware of what isn’t working. Be aware of what you are doing that isn’t working very well for you.

Well there you go – I have managed to write my first blog post. I am also learning to use the correct vocab – did you notice ‘blog post’? This may well be one of the millions of blogs out there that never get read by anyone else – then again it might make you think – and I learned something at the same time!

blog post, blog post – what a funny name!