January 20, 2018, Mexico City, Mexico
If you are bored with a lecture or a course of study or a seminar it is a sure sign that something is wrong; either with you, the subject matter or the instructor.
Look at a child. A healthy child is a curious child; it is looking at everything, touching things, putting things in its' mouth, investigating everything and trying out new things. That is why parents need to put up safety barriers to prevent the child from going where it should not be. The child is discovering the world and is very excited. When we see a child full of curiosity we say it is a sign of intelligence. A child who just sits there looking bored is reason for concern.
It is the same with adults. There is so much in the world that one should never be bored. If you are bored then you are not paying attention.
Some people can find nothing to do while others never have enough time to do all the things they want to do.
Are you bored?
If so then something is wrong, with you.
Let's analyze the possibilities: Perhaps the lecturer does not know his subject matter, does not speak clearly, or is a poor presenter. In that case it is simply a matter of someone not suitable for the task.
Another option is that the subject matter simply does not interest you, or perhaps is above your level of understanding. I once spent some time with a guy in Stanford University, I made the mistake of asking him about his doctoral studies. I then had to listen to a lecture on splitting DNA. I was bored because I was not capable of understanding the material.
But assuming the topic is one that interests you, and the presenter is indeed capable of the task, and you find yourself bored. What is the reason?
The reason is you are not focused, and you are not paying attention.
Life is so exciting that if you are bored it is simply a matter of you not paying attention. You need to wake up. Life is all around you.
I recently attended a lecture on archaeology in Jerusalem. The speaker was very passionate, very excited and she spoke with fervor throughout her lecture. She clearly had a lot to say and wanted to share it with her audience. When we walked out my brother made an interesting comment. "This woman has spend the last 30 years of her life digging and researching 4 square meters near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. She has written 3 book and 35 articles and is still passionate about it."
She is not bored and if you find yourself bored at her lecture it is because you are not paying attention. You are not focused, or perhaps the subject matter simply does not interest you. (in which case you really should not be there).
I am currently in Mexico. I just saw two rabbis taking out a book written over 3,000 years ago and passionately discussing it. It is the Torah, the Bible, they have read it every day of their lives and yet they are still passionate about it and are finding new insights. They are not bored.
Now lets' take a look at martial arts seminars.
My dear friend/teacher/mentor Prof. Arthur Cohen used to say, If I attended a three day seminar, spent $260 and improved one technique, I consider that time and money well spent.
Those are the words of a master. But if you are bored it means you have a problem. You are not paying attention. Personally I would be embarrassed to even admit it.
I know that when I teach seminars, no two seminars are ever the same. There are always differences, developments, improvements. If you were to film my seminars you would find that never have two been the same. In fact I do not use notes and I would find it very difficult to even remember exactly what I taught in a previous seminar, let alone duplicate it.
The seminars always flow with the participants and based on their needs and their level. If the seminar is moving slowly it is because the level of the students is such. If there is much review that is an indication that the students need a review. If there is a lot of new material it means those students are ready for new material. No two seminars have ever been the same. And if you did not notice that you are simply not paying attention.
If you are bored you are not paying attention.
With my top students I see the difference. They are always excited, they pick up little changes and adjustments that even I did not notice. They will say, Hey Moshe, I like this, that is a subtle but significant improvement since last time you were here. But yet I myself had not even noticed that I had changed something. This student is not bored, this student is paying attention.
Rob is a teacher by profession. He is also a military veteran. He is also a Krav Maga black belt and instructor. Rob attends at least 4 of my seminars each year every year plus he has been to Israel for our intensive Tour and Train program. We pack in 12 hours per day, Rob is not bored. Last seminar Rob enlightened me twice. The first time is when I was teaching the basic IKI universal block that I always teach (Yes, I can hear some people, same old stuff every time) and Rob came up to me during the break and said, Maestro, as a teacher I have to give you an A on that one. I seen you teach this many times but this time you have really hit a home run.
What he is saying that although he has seen me teach this many times now I have taught the same material in a new way, a more enlightening way. He now understands it even better and can explain it better to his own students.
Later after I explained another technique, a technique that I have been teaching basically unchanged for many years, Rob came up to speak with me again. He said, I have to admit I never really fully understood this technique. This is one technique I always had some doubts about. But today you explained it differently and today I finally "got it".
Rob is paying attention. Rob is never bored at my seminars.
If you are bored, you are not paying attention.
this is a psychologically very exciting blog ....
a blog for personal development (assuming the reader is open to it) ....
if you are bored (and you have made sure that you are interested
in the topic, and the lecturer himself is interested on his topic), then ......
look in the mirror ... what do you see there?
Whome do you see there?
What prevents you from absorbing
everything with joy and astonishment?
What can you change about yourself?
Where did your capacity for enthusiasm go? .....
See the world again with children's eyes,
and you will perceive so much more ....
I love this blog
With Rob Wallace, a fine teacher, student, friend. Such people make it a joy to be a teacher.
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