If you're anything like me, there are many things you would love to learn in this life. Unfortunately, we are not blessed with the literal upload/download capabilities that the characters in The Matrix. We can't plug in and play. We are however blessed with the most sophisticated learning machine on the planet – the human nervous system.
Whatever your age, gender, race, financial wealth and background, you have between your ears and running thoughout your entire self a network that no multizillion dollar computer can come close to replicating the capabilities of. If you have a healthy nervous system, you are richer than you can possibly know.
Your nervous system is the link between the outside world and your internal world. It helps turn your intentions into acts and delivers you a constant stream of information from your environment on which you base those intentions and decisions.
We all know people who learn more quickly than others and have probably thought that this is an innate quality that they are fortunate to have been born with. Genetic inheritance surely plays a part in the ability to learn but what if that part is so small that it is insignificant? What if you can actively do things to learn to learn better?
Learning to learn is a huge topic that I will only briefly touch upon here but I assure you that the following if put into practise will change the way you learn for the better. The more you do it, the better your learning speed and retention will become.
I was lucky enough to visit Holland recently to help a group of horse riders become more athletic. The work I did with them made them more able to do what they wanted with their bodies. I had report after report back of increased performance back on their horses, where they had changed long time habits in as little as an hour. The instructor who bought me out to do the workshop and sessions told me that it was amazing to work with people after the work I had done with them because they were more able to carry out instructions. Say for example somebody always struggled turning right. Coaching better right turning had been laborious. It was now easy and more advanced skills were able to be trained.
Imagine a footballer with much better balance on one foot than the other. It affects their kicking, running, turning, everything. What happens when they make a change in the way they use themselves through their nervous system's interaction between their body, thoughts and the environment and they can balance better? Would it be easier to kick with their non-dominant foot? Could they turn better?
Let's take a ballerina who can't achieve a certain range of hip flexion which rules out certain moves for her. What would happen if she could quickly learn to change that?
What about a darts player or snooker player who needs a steadier hand? How much would learning to be steadier improve their game?
Our ability to learn is intimately linked with our ability to use our body freely and with control. Every cognitive pattern has an associated motor pattern. Even the most cerebral activities have an accompanying body posture in healthy individuals.
We can take ever more advantage of our learning abilities by expanding our movement capabilities. Movement is possibly the easiest way to access previously unused or rusty parts of our nervous system. We can all do it and it is very easy to recognise when changes are made.
You are blessed with an amazing learning machine. Let me rephrase that. You are an amazing learning machine. Novel movement is a beautifully simplistic way of bettering your learning skills so that you can learn all of those things you dream of being able to do that little bit faster and deeper.
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