How one conversation helped me understand 30 years of learning


Have you ever had a conversation with somebody that feels like therapy? Where you meet for the first time and they point out something that should have been obvious to you but feels like a revelation? That happened to me recently.

In my professional career I have been a voracious learner, always going beyond what was expected and required for my role. I get excited by new things and crave the opportunity to explore and learn continually. As a musician and a music teacher I was always learning new instruments, never satisfied with just one, and was determined to become the best multi-instrumentalist that I could. Each new instrument scaffolding my learning into becoming a better musician and a better teacher. I never really thought of it as professional development but just something that I had to do to be the best that I could be.

Now, as a librarian, I know what professional development is and I see opportunities everywhere! Every time I look at my social media feeds I see things to read, courses to take, skills to learn, people to meet, podcasts to listen to, events to attend and ideas to explore. It’s like my brain is wired for learning.

Now this leads me back to my therapy conversation where I finally worked out why my brain works like this. My light bulb moment!

As a kid, I was always doing activities outside of, and as a extension of, school. There was swimming, dance, speech and drama, choir, band, music tours, eisteddfods, maths competitions and camps of all kinds. My parents spent evenings and weekends driving me around to all kinds of things and I was always signing up to do something new because I craved it.

I basically trained myself to always be doing something. For the past 30 years I have been doing things outside of school, outside of study, outside of work and I don’t know how to do nothing! This probably seems obvious to everyone else but I have never thought about it like this before and it really was a light bulb moment for me. Will this change my behaviour, probably not, but it’s nice to understand myself a little bit more.

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