Marilag Lubag's Blog

Stages of Learning | June 20, 2016

I am good at singing, crocheting, writing poetry, doing hula hoop, and other things. I wasn’t born with these skills. It took hours and hours of practice and learning. You can be good too if you want.

Looking back, I realized that I went through three stages in order to learn the new skill. The fourth stage is still a work in progress but it’s part of learning too. The more you practice, the more you’ll become good at your craft. You start by having fun.

Multicolored scarf

It took me hundreds of hours to learn how to crochet and yet I still have a lot to learn.

Stage 1: Having fun

The key to learning is having fun. If you’re not having fun doing something, you wouldn’t want to do them again. Being good at something isn’t as important as having fun. If you’re having fun, then you’ll do the same activity repeatedly. I couldn’t hula hoop before the age of seven. Then, I was forced to join a hula hoop contest as a part of school festivities. I did so poorly that we were last in our grade level. That was when I decided that I want to learn. One day, while we were shopping at a mall, I bought myself one. Everyday I practiced. At first, it kept falling down my waist. After a lot of tries, I finally got the hang of it. I was having fun. I used to count how many rotations it would take before it falls down from my waist. Eventually, I tend to lose count so I started counting the minutes. I’ve learned how to do hula hoop with other parts of my body since then too.

Another example would be my crocheting. Back when I was in second or third grade, my classmates were crocheting. As I have a creative bent, I wanted to try it too. I was nine when I first held my crochet hook. At first, I couldn’t even make a slip knot. Eventually, my classmate took a pity on me and I learned how to do chains. My grandma showed me how to do a slip stitch. It was fun trying to make rows and rows of slip stitch. I didn’t know if it looks good but I was enjoying myself. I loved every moment of making fabric using a crochet hook and plenty of yarn.

Stage 2: Learning

The second stage of learning is getting yourself educated. Nowadays, all you need to do is to watch Youtube videos (which makes learning cheaper) but you can also pay an instructor or buy some books. During this stage, start learning the basics and practice. Once you’re confident with the basic skills, you can build on it and learn more things.

When I was trying to learn how to crochet, my mom bought me two crochet books. They were very small and very thin. I devoured it. Those were my only two crochet books for the first five years of my path to learning crochet.

It’s important not to get ahead of yourself during this phase. It’s better to learn the basics and do them well rather than learn too much too soon. You could overwhelm yourself. That’s what happened with me when I was learning how to write a novel. I tried to learn so much that eventually, I find myself in a writer’s block—something that shouldn’t have happened if I didn’t try to learn too much too soon. Since then, I’ve taken a long time to unblock myself. I’m still writing. However, it’s been a while since I finished a 50,000 word story.

My foray to novel writing could be crochet for you. It could be singing. Please do not make the same mistake I did and discourage yourself out of learning by learning too much too soon.

Stage 3: Sharing with others

The third stage is when you become so good at whatever it is you want to do that you’re now confident to show it to the world. Sometimes you get pushed into it. At other times, you would share it just to overcome your fears.

Back in grade school, I got into writing poetry. I just write and write and keep it in a notebook. One day, a classmate saw it, liked it, shared it with the teacher, and got it published in the school newspaper. Eventually, it gave me self-confidence to share more of my poems. I published a few more in the junior high newspaper. Then I went to college. I recited my some poem as part of the campaign to stop violence against women.

Stage 4: Becoming a professional

Once you become very good at it, you could start charging people. Sometimes, it’s your decision. Other times, it’s your friends who tell you to start charging. Either way, you’re now transitioning from making things as a hobby to becoming a professional.

Since my friends and family seem to like my crochet projects, I have decided to charge people everytime they requested something. I didn’t come into that decision on my own. Everytime someone sees me make something, they eventually ask me to make them something. I needed the money to buy the yarn. It also takes time away from the projects I enjoy making for myself. This is why I decided to charge people. Selling items require more than your skills—it requires your ability to sell your work. Sometimes, you might not want to get to this stage and keep on doing things because you’re having fun.

 

In my experience, the stages of learning can overlap. Still, you need to get to stage 1 first before you can get to stage 4. You need to give permission to have fun and do things even if you’re not “talented”. Play with words if you’re a writer—write even if things don’t make sense. Paint like a child. Have fun with making a mess. You need to hone your craft. Eventually, you’ll become good at it. So good that people will want what you’re offering. When you reach that point and you’re ready sell your work, you’ll be confident in what you’re offering.

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