Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Passion for Learning

I determined the other day that I have a problem.  As soon as I become interested in a topic I try to learn as much about it as possible.  Examples are as follows:

1.)  When I first became interested in the science of singing I read as much as I could get my hands on about the topic.  I covered authors spanning from Tosi and Lamperti up through Reid and Frisell.  I even read Jerome Hines book on pedagogy (not Great Singers on Great Singing, but his other book, The Four Voices of Man.  Overall, I spent about six years reading almost exclusively about the voice and the art of singing.

2.)  When I decided to truly become Catholic, I again went and obtained as much information as I could about the Church.  In my collection I own works by Thomas a Kempis, St. Teresa of Avila, Jean-Pierre Caussade, G.K. Chesterton, etc. not to mention having a catechism and Bible with me nearly all the time.

3.)  Now I have taken up an interest in running, specifically in barefoot running and the same pattern has followed.  I already have two books coming in through ILL and have an eBook in my possesion which I am currently reading in addition to the book that I have already finished.

Truthfully this is not a problem, maybe a slight disorder especially compared to other people in my generation that I have witnessed.  The urge to learn, I believe, is one of the greatest determinants of eventual success.  How can anyone become an expert of anything if they are not willing to do research on their own.  A friend of mine who I was recently discussing this topic with commented that this makes almost obvious success.  In his professional world, as in many, the first step to proving a theory is to research and see what has come before the theory and what might make it plausible.

In our instant gratification world, so few of my peers even pick up a recreational tome, let alone an informational, non-fiction book unless they are being forced to do so by some class.  Why have we as a generation moved so far away from a true thirst for knowledge?  If anything, this trend seems counterintuitive to me.  We now have the internet and eBooks at our fingertips which can provide us vast information about practically anything we could want to know; and yet most people would rather spend their time on social networking sites.

I would still be a complete novice in all four areas of passion in my life were it not for my thirst for knowledge.  I submit that I still am a novice in some areas due to my relatively new discovery of them, however I can say without hesitation that because of my unquenchable thirst for knowledge that I will quickly surpass others who may have started down a particular path prior to me.

A prime example of this lies in language, one of the main purposes of this blog.  I am currently working on French, as you all know, and prior to this current time I had taken one semester at university and spent one month on my own working on the language.  When I decided to focus on this particular language I did what I do with nearly all of my passions:  I signed up on a forum concerning the topic.  From this forum I was able to ascertain numerous possibilities of ways to study and from there determine what I wanted to try.  The next step was to get materials I would need.  In general I attempt to get as much as I can for free or inexpensively.  In the case of French many of my materials came from the library and inter-library loan (ILL).  What I could not get for free I bought from a discount site, half.com.  After I get my resources it is just a matter of application and practice.  I continue to research new possibilities to aid me in my learning and acquisition and continue to watch my progress.  Approximately two and a half months after starting this focus on French I was able to list the language as one I can speak.  Now nearly four months in I am continuing to grow my skill and am nearing towards my final goal in this language, which is to be able to teach or give a speech comfortably.

The above process goes for any skill that I embark upon learning.  I have already proven to myself that I can succeed in picking up any skill because of my desire to learn and constantly improve.  Imagine the things we could accomplish in this world if everyone had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and did not just want to skate by on their undeveloped talents.

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