I’ve recently had the pleasure of connecting with world class professional athlete Louise Walden, and convinced her to write about her approach to learning, a key aspect that we both view as central to success. Here is her story.
“My View Of Learning…
My view on learning now differs dramatically to what I once thought it was as a child. As an active, easily distracted child, who was once described by a teacher as ‘no better than average’, learning for me was obligatory hours spent at school. I probably would have told you that learning was boring, inconvenient and dull. As I reflect now, I question whether my view was the innocence of youth or in actual fact something that I had learnt in itself.
Now as former British Champion, Team GB member, World Class professional athlete and International Gold Medallist, who has built her career on constantly exceeding expectations, I can deduce a completely different perspective to that of my younger self. Learning for me is a fundamental aspect of life. The knowledge that we gain from learning and the way in which we use it, is how we allow ourselves to evolve, develop and be our own success.
As a child I associated learning with education and without choice, which back then I suppose it was to some extent, but my perception was also that anything outside of academia or anything a little bit creative, was merely playtime. Where that view point came from I am unsure of, but that highlights to me that as teachers, parents and role models, we have a responsibility to be aware of how we inadvertently influence those around us.
I now find learning is exciting, necessary and valuable.
It is a privilege, it is precious and an investment in ones future. Without learning we cannot grow, progress or succeed and it is imperative for limitless self improvement. How you choose to learn, who you choose to learn from, the knowledge you gain from those experiences and then how you use it, is what makes us all unique.
My adult self now appreciates that learning does not need to be attributed to education, teachers or text books.
I am constantly learning from every person that I meet and every experience that I find myself in. I believe that without learning from both negative and positive experiences, failings and victories, pessimists and optimists, we may never reach our full potential.
I expect I will always be selective with who I allow to demonstrate leadership and inspire me. The ability to lead and to teach I’m my opinion, is giving the gift of knowledge to others and something I feel very protective of, as knowledge in the wrong hands may not always be productive. Leaders and motivators therefore have a responsibility to allow people to be themselves, to encourage freedom of expression and interpretation of knowledge, so that a person may create their own path.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learnt as a child did in fact originate from my school days and from that very teacher who thought I wouldn’t amount to much.
I learnt from him I needed to strive to overachieve in every aspect of my life.
I have lived in fear of that word ‘average’ and made sure that everything I do is to the best of my ability.
I live by the belief that the sky is the limit and that if you dream, believe, work and focus relentlessly on what you want to achieve, you can and you will achieve it.”
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