Do you sit down and let knowledge come to you? Or do you actively work to improve yourself?

It’s a topic I’ve found very interesting over the last couple of months. Are you a passive learner? When you go to class, do you sit there and wait for the teacher’s knowledge to transfer into you? Or do you find yourself listening, interpreting and following the lecture, and reading ahead or reviewing your notes? What do you think is more potent, more successful, or a better use of your time?

At the end of the day, it honestly just boils down to what are you using your time for. Everyone has different priorities, so maybe actively learning is too difficult because you’re up all night hacking at your side project. But then, why are you passively learning — actively wasting your time?

In an ideal world, we would always be actively doing everything at hand. That’s the concept of being present I’ve mentioned time and time again.

But that’s not always possible, so you have to wonder, what am I choosing to prioritize when I’m passive. Actually, it would be more correct to say, you have to actively wonder, what you’re choosing to prioritize.

Are you prioritizing gaming over school work? Having fun over doing work? Playing games over working on side projects? In some cases, it’s clear, fun actually does seem much better than work. In those cases, you have to convince yourself about why you even have the two options. Are you playing games to relax after a stressful day? Or are you playing games because, well, you’re addicted to playing games? When it’s not so clear, then figure out why it’s not so clear! Are you in a dead end job and end up procrastinating? Find ways to improve your situation then. There’s always something you can do.

If you’re prioritizing against something, say, you’re choosing to go out and have fun rather than stay in and work, then make sure you’re absolutely sure that’s what you’ve chosen to do, and then do it 110%.

But don’t be a passive decision maker. Don’t let your passivity choose your direction for you. Sit in your classroom and choose to tune in or choose to passively learn.

It’s all about being present, and revolving your perspective around to fit your personal priorities.

When I’m skating, I could choose to just go in a circle and practice perfecting going forwards and crossovers, but I attribute my learning pace to my desire to improve, so I’m listening to skating tips beforehand, then going to the rink and trying the new tips, going backwards and falling a bunch, and testing new tricks, while forcing myself to improve my form. This has really helped in terms of non-passive learning, as really as actually signing up for lessons to force myself to actively work to improve.

This topic really came up while I’ve been learning to skate for the past month. I think I’ve put about 30 hours into skating so far, and progress has been great. I’m a lot more confident on the ice now than I was at the beginning of the year. Enough so that I think I prefer skating to not skating really. Skating is amazing. Going forward is no longer a problem for me unless I’m really tired. Left crossovers are easy now, my right crossovers are shaky but passable. I can use my edges decently but there’s always room for improvement. I can skate backwards fairly well but sometimes I lose a little bit of balance and everything’s off. More practice is required, but both legs seem to work now. I’ll need to be more confident when I start to speed up. I can do backwards crossovers slowly but they’re not smooth. I am learning to transition from forwards to backwards to forwards, and it’s fun! Stopping forwards and backwards is still an enigma.

I’m still learning, but that’s the point.