The month draws to a close today, and it is therefore time for Rapid Fire Learning. Got your journal open?
Rapid Fire Learning
One of the ‘elders’ in our Ho‘ohana Community is an ‘Ike loa learning habit, a month-end practice we named Rapid Fire Learning (RFL).
RFL was created on TalkingStory.org in September of 2006, a month where our value immersion had been on ‘Ike loa, the Hawaiian value of learning. It started as an essay invitation I extended to other bloggers in our community, publishing their contributions in a month-long forum. We quickly and overwhelmingly agreed that our learning was something we couldn’t contain in a single forum and then declare over: Lifelong learning after all, is lifelong learning! We had created an educational momentum we couldn’t ignore, and a learning community we did not want to let go of, and our forum spun off into a website of its own.
The website was dubbed Joyful Jubilant Learning, and a new essay was published every single day for over 3 years. The site was retired* in 2010, for after a very robust run, our contributing authors and I found we’d graduated on to other endeavors. I’ll admit the end of JJL was a bit sad, but we were nostalgic and not disappointed, for isn’t a goal of learning to revel in the effort, triumph in its accomplishment, and then move on?
The site may have retired, but the learning habits we’d created along the way certainly have lived on. The one habit most of us have retained, is Rapid Fire Learning.
We think of RFL as a combo between learning and gratitude journaling, and it’s a very quick and easy practice:
On the last day of every month, you sit with pen and paper, and quickly reflect:
What were your top 3 to 5 learnings during the month?
You jot them down briefly, just in a sentence or two. There are no other rules or guidelines—you write RFL your way, in however learning happened for you or made an impression on you.
RFL is a simple curation practice which makes you feel accomplished in learning. You will feel grateful—you are indeed a lifelong learner!
Learning may not have a defined beginning or end—it happens within us constantly. With RFL you see incremental improvements in the form of your ‘smaller learnings’ because they do make an impression on you. You celebrate your leaps forward as well, recognizing when the biggies have occurred—you did it!
One thing I like about it, is how the practice prompts you to think about your follow-up; what did you learn, and what are you going to do about it? When you learn something from another person, have you let them them know, and have you said Mahalo?
I handwrite my RFLs each month, and I have a moleskine journal dedicated to RFL and nothing else. It is, without a doubt, the best re-reading of anything I do, for I go back over my older entries and check myself: Did you really learn this enough, really? Is it time for a revisit? Past entries will remind me of things I had once been very excited about, and I often revive them with renewed energies if they have since fallen from active practice.
Here’s my RFL for the month of March 2018. I share it as a quick example—
1. I learned—again, and repeats are so useful!—that I need to fully trust in my first impressions when I visit a new place. Sense of place may feel elusive, and may be tough to explain at first, but the feelings are always strong, and I need to pay attention to them, whether comforts or cautions.
2. I learned that it is very easy to take advantage of people who are your family, and ‘easy’ certainly doesn’t make it right. On the other hand, being kind, polite to, and considerate of family is HUGE when it happens, and it’s glorious for everyone. No one likes to be taken for granted—why do we assume family is any different?
3. I learned where the Snake River ends, emptying into the Columbia River at Tri-Cities, Washington, as its largest tributary. A commonplace fact for some, this was more noteworthy and meaningful for me after our family vacation two years ago in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the Snake River rises.
The Sacajawea Heritage Trail Project is a recreational and educational trail along twenty-three miles of beautiful Columbia River shoreline in Tri-Cities, Washington.
4. I spent most of my time away from Hawai‘i this month, and I learned about the tenacity and resiliency of people who farm a “true four seasons life” changing their labor spring, summer, fall and winter, to adjust their income streams (and spending) as well. I was so impressed, and I am eager to learn more.
5. I learned—another welcomed repeat—that the telephone is your best friend when you newly meet someone, but cannot do so in person. No matter how articulate or eloquent a writer a person may be, communicating by voice always surpasses email and text (and voicemails don’t count).
Join me and write up your own RFL—what did you learn this month?
* Joyful Jubilant Learning had been hosted by Say Leadership Coaching, and we let the domain expire; if you find it, it was purchased by someone else.)
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