Recently I have started taking Yoga. It is wonderful to be experiencing something new. I am a beginner, I know it and every visit is filled with massive learning. Having a beginner’s mind takes no effort. This gives me great joy. Not only does yoga help my body strengthen and become more flexible, my mind relax and clear but it also teaches me new things about myself. I’ve realized that I need to learn. I get bored very easily so learning is a method of keeping myself engaged and passionate with what I am doing.
Today at yoga we did the same moves over and over again. It was quite intense. My mind immediately thought of coding katas. By doing these moves over and over again we improve as developers. By doing these yoga moves over and over again, I was learning the moves and my form was improving. Something important to note was that there was an observant and attentive instructor. She was able to adjust my technique and help me find my own solution. This is a really huge point. Everyone has a different body and therefore will do moves in slightly different ways. The concept will be the same but they might have a sore shoulder or an old injury. A good instructor can show the student an alternative position the can achieve similar results without causing pain. In software development, a good team lead or pair (pair programming) can share information to help improve the way a developer implements a solution. It might be a simple as a new short cut key or using new feature. We are very lucky if we are using test driven development (TDD) because it contains a phase of refactoring. This allows us to improve the code without changing it’s behaviour. I keep thinking I understand that concept but each day like today teaches me new things about it.
The importance of learning is not diminishing with me as I get older but in fact growing. Something I try to do each day is become a better study. I strive to improve my ability to learn. Not to just learn new things but become better at learning. Acceleration as opposed to speed.
I will end this with a few of many quotes about the importance of learning.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~Gandhi
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~ Confucius