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Doing Learning

12 May 2014 | Mind monkeys

When we were on holiday, we took our kids to play badminton.

My son loved it, got the hang of it pretty easily, and even invented a tennis-like serve that seemed to work for him.

My daughter on the other hand, found it harder, so my husband took her away from the net and practised throwing the shuttlecock to her so she could get used to hitting it.

When we got back home, they both decided they wanted to play again – this time on the field outside our house. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but it was windy.

My son quickly got frustrated. The shuttlecock wasn’t behaving the way he was used to. The game had changed, and in between every miss (and there were many) he stomped, yelled and gave me that hurt, frustrated look that said “it’s not working!”

My daughter on the other hand flashed me a smile and announced “I’m going to do some learning mummy”, threw the shuttlecock into the air and started counting how many times she could hit it.

With each miss, my son got more and more frustrated, declaring “I can’t do it!”.

With each hit, I could hear my daughter counting, “5, 6… 7… … … 8…”

By the time we went home, my daughter had racked up a hundred hits (although I’m pretty sure she went from 34 to 55!) My son on the other hand, felt like a failure, because all he focused on were the misses. The truth is, they probably both got better. But only one knew it, and only one grew in confidence for the next time.

What are you learning at the moment? What feels clunky, difficult or frustrating?

Maybe it’s something completely brand new. Or maybe it’s something you already do well under different circumstances. Maybe the game has changed, you’ve entered a new arena, the stakes are higher and you feel like a novice again.

How are you doing your learning?

Are you counting the hits or the misses?

Are you focused on the practise or frustrated that you haven’t mastered it yet?

Ultimately learning isn’t about knowing what to do. It’s about putting that knowledge into action. It’s about doing learning.

How are you doing yours?


  1. Ali C-S

    Great Monday reminder! My two do get frustrated when they don’t achieve what they think they should. I am always telling them this lesson that it is practise and along the way things won’t be perfect. Do I take my own lesson, quite possibly not as well as I should! Will try harder 🙂

    • Grace Marshall

      You could make it a question you ask each other if you want some strong accountability Ali – kids are very good at holding you accountable! 🙂

  2. naomirichards

    It is very frustrating to watch and hear. My oldest also feels he should get it first time and does not like to put the effort in. The other one loves to practise and get better. It is all about patience and recognising what is going well and understanding that each time we do something it will be different but it does not mean we are less good at it.

    • Grace Marshall

      Very true Naomi – and that’s a great way to put it. I shall try that with my son. Reassuring to know you get this too!

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About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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