Have you ever picked up a book or watched a documentary and became fascinated with a subject (could be history, human relations, sports, or anything else), and this very same subject was one you studied in school or were previously exposed to, yet you had zero to little interest in the first time? If this has ever happened to you, then you most likely experienced the spirit of learning, the passion of learning something that is relevant to you.
I think the big switch that occurs in these situations is two fold. First, when you initially came in contact with the subject you decided for some reason or another, that this subject or information was not relevant to you. Rather, you decided that because of your current beliefs, priorities, and paradigms that it had no “net benefit” to you as a person. Because you didn’t feel that relevance, that urgency within you to learn this topic, you overlooked it, only to find later that this topic did have bearing on you and that it could benefit you.
It is important to always try to keep an open mind, a closed mind is often closed to a lot of new opportunities for growth and expansion. Those people who welcome diversity and new experiences with a spirit of learning and passion will make huge gains in life compared to their close minded counterparts.
This can vary widely in application but the gist is this, when you get an opportunity to learn something new, realise it is an opportunity for growth. We often form paradigms (like little lenses we look at the world through), these paradigms are made up of our past experiences, things we’ve been told, and the values we believe in. It is important to know that your judgement on the value of something does not determine its value. Where you see trash many others may find hidden treasure. The problem with paradigms is that we subconsciously do everything in our power to make sure they stay true, often at the detriment of our own well being.
Example: You have tried to play open guard, time after time, you got your guard passed. It felt like nothing was there, no points of contact, you were reaching out for a ghost where a person should be, but nothing was there. You start to justify to yourself in your mind why it doesn’t work (we don’t like to think that we are inadequate or rather that we just need more practice), so you say things like: my grips aren't strong enough, i'm not fast enough, i'm not flexible enough. Suddenly you begin to form a paradigm that influences all the new information you receive. You believe that open guard isn’t for you, that you have inherent limitations that prevent you using it effectively. Suddenly when someone shows you open guard techniques you write them off, they have no “value”, they have no value to your current paradigm of life. You never learn open guard, and as a result you are reliant only on half guard and closed guard, your game suffers greatly in the long run and you never learn to control a disengaged opponent, because of this when someone escapes your half guard, or opens your closed guard you get passed easily.
An open mind, and embracing the spirit of learning can help prevent situations like this from occurring and ensure that your growth as an individual continues. The next time you find yourself saying in your mind “this move doesn’t work” or “maybe if I had longer legs I could do this” ask yourself why you believe this. Ask yourself if other people use the technique successfully. Ask yourself what details you might be missing that could make it work for you. Always do this, and you will begin to learn at a faster rate guaranteed.