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Notes from the Labyrinth
Unobtainium and Dragons' Bones
Project Valkyrie: waterlog. Plus some random thoughts. 
30th-Jul-2010 02:05 pm
LAPS: 34
YARDS: 1700
NOTES: 3 sets of 4 continuous freestyle laps. Even though I apparently can't kick and breathe at the same time.

The riding equivalent of stand up on it is ride through it.

Something a friend said in a locked post made a lightbulb go on for me: One of the reasons I enjoyed teaching "non-traditional" students (i.e., adults) was that, by and large, they'd gotten past the phase of trying to outsource blame. It's part of learning how to learn things, more than it's specific to any particular discipline. You don't blame the reading material for being too hard, or the needle for not going where you want it to, or the piano for the fact that you haven't practiced all week. You say, Okay, it's on me and either cowboy up and get it done or accept your failure as the result of your own shortcomings, choices, or inexperience. And when you fall off the horse, you get back on.

This also made sense for me of why, a couple times in the first few months, my dressage instructor checked in to be sure I wasn't blaming the horse for things not going well. I was a little baffled--no, of course not--but my instructor had no way of knowing, without checking, that I wasn't still in that phase of learning how to learn. And since a horse is one of the most sensitive feedback-loop instruments you will ever encounter, I can see where, once the rider starts blaming the horse, things can get locked into a negative spiral very quickly.

It's easy to backslide. I caught myself today trying to blame the other swimmers for the fact I couldn't seem to get a proper breath. And there's a fine line between trying to outsource blame and trying to explain why you're not doing well. One of the two is a necessary part of learning: you have to articulate what's wrong before you can fix it in a way that will stay fixed. The other, though, is a way to avoid learning. If it's the piano's fault, or the horse's fault, or the other swimmers' fault, it isn't your fault, and there isn't anything you can be expected to do about it. But an explanation should lead to problem-solving, even if the solution is only, Do it again.

Ride through it.
30th-Jul-2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
I'm apparently in the stage of blaming bits of myself. Why do I have trouble with that one move near the end of the pinan nidan kata in karate? Because of my ankles; I can't bend through them (dorsiflex) worth a damn, for structural reasons that will probably never change very much. It's a legitimate problem -- but the next, more adult step is to say, okay, so how do I work around it? And that's the harder part. It isn't enough to point out the problem if I don't find a way to solve it, within my own personal operating parameters.

I hadn't thought about absence of a blaming-others habit as being one of the appeals of non-traditional students, but you're right, that's definitely part of it. (Mostly I chalked my preference for them up to the fact that they had chosen to be in class, and were probably paying their own money for it, which meant they valued what they'd come to do. Some of the younger students did, too, but a lot were there just because their parents had paid for it, and never gave it much thought beyond that.)
30th-Jul-2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Being an adult is hard.
30th-Jul-2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
This was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks.
31st-Jul-2010 01:55 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
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