Marilag Lubag's Blog

Stages of Learning

June 20, 2016
Leave a Comment

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.


Step 1

March 31, 2016
Leave a Comment

The hardest step we’ll ever had to take is the beginning. Often, people make excuses if they want something. For example, if someone dreams of writing a novel, they would dream about it but don’t start writing page one. If that was the case, our first step should be to start writing one paragraph. If we want to get to where we want, we need to start start somewhere.

The difference between a dream and a goal is if we’re actually doing something to get there. If we haven’t figured out how to get to our destination, the first step would be to start. We need to start walking. We would figure out what we need to do as we go along.

If we’re doing crochet, we should start with a slip knot. The chains and other stitches would follow. Whether we decide to make a blanket or a doily, there is a place we need to start first. The rest would come easier the more we practice.

The first step into any goal is to start somewhere. If we don’t start somewhere, we would only be dreaming—it’s not a goal. We would remain in step 0 and not move on to step 1. If we want to do something, we need to start. Once we start, everything gets easier.


The Pie

March 4, 2016
Leave a Comment

The battle to get better is with ourselves. The moment we find someone better at their craft than us, we often find ourselves so intimidated that we would throw our hard work out the window. We find ourselves giving up. While that reaction is understandable, we shouldn’t give up just because we think other people are better in their craft than us. When that happens, it’s better to retreat in our corner and perfect our craft, doing what we enjoy doing. After all, there is always a corner available for us in our craft.

Our weapon for insecurity is more practice. We can’t do our best if we compare ourselves to the person right next to us. We might see them as being better but we don’t know what kind of insecurity they’re battling themselves. If we only know what’s going on in their head, it’s unlikely that we’re going to be as insecure. They are fighting that invisible battle too.

We need to worry about our own projects. The good thing about crochet is that I’m either searching for a pattern or creating one myself. Some I like more than others but it’s a matter of personal taste. Similarly, just because we like one creation a particular artist doesn’t mean we’ll like thing they did. What matters is that we’re doing our best with our chosen craft. No matter how good you are, there would always be a place for you in your chosen art form.

We need to remember that there would always be people who are better than us and there would be others that are worse. We shouldn’t worry about how they perform. There is a space for everyone in our chosen medium. The key is to let go of our insecurities and do our best.

What are your own insecurities?


From Terrible to Greatness

March 3, 2016
Leave a Comment

The more you try to push yourself, the better you’ll do. It will be awful at first but the more you practice you have, the better you’ll get. Eventually, you will learn the skill that you would become an expert.

As a kid, I love music but I sing out of tune. I sing everywhere I go that I’m putting Donkey (Shrek’s best friend) a run for his money during long trips. Eventually, I learned how to sing. I’ve been asked to do solo ever since.

The key is not to give up. Just because you’re bad at something doesn’t mean that you won’t become good at it if you work hard. There are a lot of things I was awful at doing at first but I keep on practicing them. I eventually become good at a lot of things. People might think that I’m a Jill of all trades but they didn’t see the countless hours it took me to master the things I’m good at now.

Just because you’re awful at something doesn’t mean that you can’t become good at it. With practice, you can become better than those who have a natural affinity for such activities who don’t practice at all. Practice makes perfect. It happened to me and it can happen to you.


Away from Prying Eyes

March 1, 2016
Leave a Comment

The best thing about being self-taught when it comes to learning my craft is that there’s no competition. I don’t have to compare myself with other people and I could just perform happily doing what I need to do, incorporating what I learned from other people and just be. It allows me to experiment without the fear of judgment even if they turn out horrible to the end.

Being self-taught allows me to practice away from prying eyes and with full confidence that I’m the best at what I do simply because I have nobody to compare myself with. Of course, by the time I show my finished product to others, I had practiced so much that I’ve actually become quite good at it. When people finally see my finished product, all they could think about was how good it was. They didn’t see the countless hours I spent perfecting and experimenting on my craft.

Practicing on my own lessens my performance anxiety as well. I could practice the way I wanted and the only people who would be affected are myself and people on my immediate surroundings like when a child wants to play the violin (the parents just have to grin and bear it). With enough practice, the child eventually becomes so good at it that they would be asked to play in front of others.

My point is, it’s easier to practice if we don’t compare ourselves with other people. In my case, I used to do a lot of scarves in mismatching colors and in no particular order. While I still make them, I had learned over the years to stick to one or two colors. At the very least, they’re complimentary.

When we’re just starting to learn our crafts, we need to practice on our own. It is easier to develop our skills when we don’t have other people to compare ourselves with. Eventually, we would be good at our craft and develop our own style. Practice makes perfect. It would also be easier when we don’t have to look over our shoulder to have somebody to compare ourselves to.


The Battle In Our Head

February 29, 2016
Leave a Comment

As an artist, it’s easy to get intimidated by someone whom we perceive is better than us at our respective crafts. This is true whether I’m talking about singing, writing, crocheting, or any other artistic skills I decided to try my hands on. While it’s true that there are people who are going to be better than us in terms of our craft, it’s also true that we would be better than other people.

In Stephen Covey’s Everyday Greatness, Dolly Parton has revealed that she was insecure of Reba McIntire. While people consider Dolly Parton a legend, she was also battling insecurities of her own. Similarly, there would be people that would make us feel small just by standing right next to them. In the case of Dolly Parton, it’s when she was standing right next to Reba. We need to battle that feeling of insecurity so that we could become the best that we could be given our capabilities. We all work at a different pace so we shouldn’t let other people’s progress hamper our own.

The battle is mostly in our head. It’s easy to feel insecure standing right next to someone who’s so good at their craft that we feel like what we would do is useless compared to them. Not only is that mindset useless, it’s also particularly harmful. We need to do our best despite the insecurities we’re feeling. We don’t have to be the best in order to be recognized at what we do. Otherwise, half the famous artists wouldn’t be as famous as they are. What matters is that we keep working on our craft. The battle we should have is whether or not we did better than last time.

It’s not easy trying to learn our craft when we’re battling other people in our head. Often, I find them as a distraction as I try to do my best in my craft. They might be good in other people’s eyes but it shouldn’t prevent us from performing our best. Dolly Parton had to battle her own insecurities. If she let her insecurities, there wouldn’t be a legend that we know. Similarly, you and I shouldn’t let our insecurities get the best of us.


How to Train with a Master

February 26, 2016
Leave a Comment

Sometimes, I like to pretend that I’m Whitney Houston (may she rest in peace) and would try to sing the way she does. Of course, it would always end up with me yelling aloud. My voice isn’t designed to be that of Whitney Houston. Mine is a cross between Broadway and Classical. I’m not designed to sing like Whitney Houston. Nevertheless, I like to sing and to pretend that I’m Whitney Houston when I find the time for karaoke—an impossible task these days.

Pretending to be someone who’s good at their craft is a good way to learn the craft. Whether it’s trying to imitate Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting or trying to write in the style of J.K. Rowling, trying to imitate a master is a good way to learn the basics while we’re developing our own skillset. Eventually, we would develop our own preferences until we know our craft enough to have our own style.

While some people would argue that we need to develop our own style, it’s not easy to develop our own style if we don’t know what style we like. It would be better to have your top five favorite authors, try to imitate their style, and keep what we like about them and throw away what we don’t. We won’t know what we want until we have an idea of what it could be.

Imitating a master is a form of training. Anyone who says otherwise either wasn’t very good at what they do or are lying. Every world class artist have other artists before them that influenced them. It’s how they learn what works for them and what doesn’t. Don’t be hesitant to imitate other artist while studying our craft. What’s important is to use them as a guide—to take what we like about them and to set aside what we don’t. Each individual is so unique that they cannot fully imitate the master. Sooner or later, the artist would know himself or herself enough to have his or her own style.

Who is your favorite artist on the medium you enjoy?


How to Be Good at Something

February 18, 2016
Leave a Comment

Talents are not as innate as some people think. Almost any skill can be learned. It takes an immense amount of interest and practice in order to become a master of something. Some people think it’s mysterious to be able to do something but it’s really not. Talent is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration—I’m paraphrasing Edison. The people who are good at certain things just have a lot of practice.

If you want to be good at something, you have to get off your phone. Whether it’s cooking or singing or writing, you won’t know how to do something unless you start doing them. To be good at something, it starts with actually picking up the tool and actually doing something.

It starts with a hobby—the adult version of playing without worrying about the consequences. Whether it’s writing or singing painting or needlework or anything else, people need to get interested in something before they actually start playing. Keep in mind that things are a lot harder to learn as an adult than when we were children—we no longer practice learning new skills.

Eventually, people learn their skills. If you’re a horrible singer, you’ll become good at it if you keep on practicing and try to learn the technique. It takes time but people learn eventually. Then, people become good at what they do and then they could sell them or give them away if they choose. You have to practice over and over in order to be good at whatever it is you want to learn. It does take time but if you practice that particular skill an hour a day, you’ll become good at whatever it is you’re interested in.

To be good at something, you don’t need to be born with talent for that particular skill. Most people could learn through practice. The more you practice, the more you’ll improve. It’s going to take a few years but eventually, you’ll be good at that particular activity that people would believe you’re born with that skill.

 

Related Posts:


Gifts

February 17, 2016
Leave a Comment

By nature, I love arts and crafts. It helps me express my creativity especially since I’m not as good as the other members of my family when it comes to painting. However, I’m gifted with all sorts of needlework. We each have our unique gifts and it’s up to each of us to use it and improve it.

We all have different skills and talents. Sometimes, people are born to be good at painting. Others were born to be better at singing. Then, there were those that are great at acting. Nevertheless, no matter where your gifts are, you could get better if you practice.

I believe that our natural gifts lie on where our interests are and on whether we practice them or not. One of the reasons why I’m not good with painting is because I don’t practice it. The same goes for my ability to take pictures. Plenty of people have said that I’m terrible at it. My boss often wonders why I couldn’t take good photos when I’m an artist with a lot of talents. The only answer I have was because I don’t take a lot of pictures. I’m not going to waste my time trying to find the perfect angle for a particular subject when all I want is to show people the places I’ve been at and the people I’m with. It all depends on the editing—if I actually get around it. And besides, I’m not interested in making things picture perfect. I prefer candid shots over anything else.

On the other hand, I’m good at the other things I prefer to learn. For example, I’m good at singing because I’ve practiced countless hours singing even if I was out of tune growing up. I’m good at hula hoop too—I practiced hundreds of hours trying to keep that round object around my waist. The things that I’m good at, I practiced tirelessly. I didn’t get discouraged doing them as I tried to master each skill.

I’m good at a lot of things because I practice. At first, I tend to be terrible. After more tries, I improve. Since I have the tendency to practice nonstop when I like something, I eventually become good at it. It’s not that I’m multitalented as some people have said. As far as I’m concerned, I start with only the desire to do something. With practice, I soon add it to my bag of talents.

If you’re not good at something but have the desire to do it, don’t despair. Just practice. With dedication, you’ll eventually learn and become good at it. Our gifts are tied to our interests. It’s because we practice the things we’re interested in doing more than those that we’re not.


Start Simple

February 16, 2016
Leave a Comment

Whenever I try to learn a new crocheting skill, I start with simple projects and practice it repeatedly. That’s how I became good at needlework. This is also a good way to improve your craft. After all, you can’t become a painter if you don’t know how to apply paint on the canvas. In my case, it helps me figure out how the yarn would behave before I can create a more elaborate design.

It’s better to start something simple if you’re just learning. A Mozart piece is a lot harder if you couldn’t even do the scales. Creating a beanie would be a lot harder if you couldn’t even start a chain. Writing a novel is extremely difficult if you don’t even know how tell a story. You need to master the basics before you should try something more complex.

It’s better to start something simple and master all the skills necessary than to create something elaborate without learning the basics. Mastering the basics gives you the skillset to combine them into something more complex. They do take time to develop so please be patient. After all, J.K. Rowling had been writing stories long before she completed Harry Potter. She had written her first story at the age of six about a rabbit. By the time she had written Harry Potter, she had been practicing writing for a long time.

When you try to do more complex items before mastering the basics, you won’t have the skills to match the vision you have in your head. It would be so far from your finished product it’s like trying to paint like Leonardo Da Vinci when your painting skill is that of a ten year old. When people do this, they tend to be discouraged and tell themselves that they couldn’t do what was on their mind. In reality, all they need is to practice. People should give themselves time to practice and allow themselves to be bad at it. The only way to become a sculptor is if you start creating a sculpture. Start by making a ball and then do something more complex from there. There is no shortcut. It takes time to be good at something.

People need to learn how to walk before they could run. The same is true when it comes to being a serious artist. Just because other people made what they do look easy doesn’t mean that it is. Being an artist is hard work. It takes talent, practice, and determination (mostly practice) in order to paint like a Renaissance painter.

 

Related Post:


Next Page »

    Archives

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 31 other followers

    Categories