Lessons Learnt from Learning a New Skill- Mentorship

 

rubik's cube

Photo Courtesy: Amazon.co.uk

I always wanted to know how to solve a Rubik’s cube. Watching my siblings and you-tube folks solve it so quickly made it look easy. I don’t know about you but one thing I have noticed with trying to learn a skill is that we tend to deceive ourselves that it would be an easy journey- may be it’s optimism or just sheer ignorance, but we do lie to ourselves a lot.

To learn a skill however we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. This means accepting that the task ahead of us would take time and commitment. It is never a walk in the park learning anything new.

The past few weeks have taught me that the learning experience doesn’t have to be so daunting or boring if the learner has a Mentor.

My mentor for this skill was my sister, she taught me how to solve the Rubik’s cube in 4 weeks. Just to be clear, it’s wasn’t easy. There are so many methods for solving a Rubik’s cube. She taught me using the Layer Method (you can learn about it here).

Her technique was different and unique because I didn’t have to memorise the algorithms, she turned each algorithm into a story, so all I had to do was to remember the story and off I fixed each layer of the cube (after several failed attempts).

Having a Mentor helps you learn a skill  a lot faster than you usually would because you are essentially walking in the footsteps of someone who has knowledge and experience in the skill you are about to learn. So you are made aware of potential pitfalls, so that when you do encounter them you can jump over each challenge

Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. 

Not every Mentor might be as effective as my sister but the words of Benjamin Franklin stand true. Your Mentor has to engage you in the skill and cannot just force his/her ideas on you without watching you try it out- that’s the only way you to learn!

A Mentor must be adaptable and ready to listen to your difficulties. I remember the first week I started out, my Mentor would give me a task and watch me twist and turn the cube just so she could point out my errors. This was so helpful because I was involved in this skill right from the start, hence, I learned each stage faster.

You might wonder, how can one choose a Mentor? Some people naturally have their mentors available to them-it could be their sibling (like in my case) or a parent, or a friend who wants to help them learn a skill. If we are to choose our Mentors however, it goes without saying that we want to go for people who are knowledgeable in that skill and know how to teach it.

We also need to choose Mentors that know us well. Solving the Rubik’s cube was fun and less stressful for me because my Mentor was a sibling who knew me well and knew I would learn the algorithms faster with stories. When choosing a Mentor, it is important to look  for Mentors who have similar personalities with us, or personalities that are relatable, that makes it easier to take on board their suggestions.

Learning a new skill is not always that simple especially when learning it alone via help guides or online tutorials, because the author of these resources may not always explain things in a way that would be easy for us to learn. However, with a well suited Mentor by our side we can learn our new skill in less time and find the learning experience more enjoyable.

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A bite of the apple

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I am not an apple fan boy. If I were I’ll probably do one of these ( you should read it, you’ll be amazed). Apple products are phenomenal. I had my first official bite of the apple 2years ago, since then I have been hooked. I can’t imagine using any other phone but the iPhone.

When I first got my iPhone I had some problems; I found it quite difficult understanding the relationship between iTunes and the iPhone, the fact that I couldn’t use my Bluetooth to transfer media files to non- IPhones (like I did with my previous phones) got me frustrated. There was a time I had headaches when swiping through apps on the screen or when the apps start wobbling perhaps after accidentally holding down an app for too long (if you have ever had an apple touch screen device you’ll understand what I mean ;)).

With all the challenges I had, I was more inclined to continue to learn more about my phone. It was a new experience for me. Whenever I had difficulties (transferring a file, creating a ringtone) I endeavoured to figure out a solution. The apple support community also answered my many questions. I have to admit, my phone made me more interested in computers and technology.

Are IPhones the best phones in the world? Hmmmmm I’ll most likely say yes. Considering the number of apps I’m exposed to on app store alone, the variety of music, videos the list is endless. Once you have a bite of the apple you’ll want to eat up the rest of the fruit. That is why it is not uncommon to see folks having iPhones along with iPads, iPods, Macs. I mean can you blame them?

Am I a fan boy? Most definetly no. I just think IPhones are beautiful, and there is nothing wrong in having a bite of the apple