Money has always been an issue in my life. Sometimes money has been a positive force, sometimes a difficult problem and always, always a source of worry for me. Using numbers in my life has been an issue and because numbers were easy things for my family to work with I don’t remember a kind word or positive feedback. The word Lazy and phrases like “you will never have anything to show for yourself” always fell into line with the extra workbooks and times tables’ memorization practice. Several kind teachers along the way would ask me to assess what my problem was with numbers, I did not know and I was always told to just try harder and I would get ”it”. After getting an impossibly low score on the SAT and ACT math portions of those exams, I took a fear of math class, but that did not hold many answers for me either. The confusing part to most people was the fact that I was reading Russian Novels, in English, by the time I was five, and the encyclopedia set my Mother purchased was my favorite escapist pastime. If I could read, interpret, comprehend, and integrate ideas at such an early age, I must just be lazy about learning numbers. The world did not have words like Dyslexia or Dyscalcula in its vocabulary – yet!
My Father had purchased a ledger book for me to set up my accounts when I was in Junior High School. I was told to keep track of my savings account and all the things I purchased and my income. This was really an amazing gift. With no instructions about what the various columns were for I began my own system of record keeping. Once a month before school began, my friend Shan would add and subtract all the numbers and come up with totals. She found my system hard to read, so I added colored pencils to keep records and a make it easier for Shan to make her calculations. I learned that if Shan corrected all my algebra homework, and I failed all the tests, I could still get done and pass the class. With a bit of help from my friends I made it into college and graduate school.
I paid for my education mustering all the resources I could grasp. Here is the trials of my youth was harder than yours part: I worked many jobs and a wide range of jobs and cut myself out of all the social aspects of higher education that I could because I just could not afford those things and achieve my goals.
What started out with a gift of a ledger book, an editor, discipline as book keeper, and color has turned out to be a wonderful opportunity in the many lessons of how I learn and master something. I am quite sure that I will never be a computer software engineer or a music composer, I do know now that if I wanted to devote that much energy to learning something, I could invent the tools to assist my learning success. What a fabulous concept to know about yourself – I have a real learning style. This takes me back to the way we make changes in our lives formula (see previous article about Change). I will add that to know yourself you have to get real about exactly where you are at-your ground level with all the warts and weaknesses right before your eyes. Identify your strengths in order to make change. Intimately knowing where you are at the beginning means that you can assess through yourself knowledge what you are learning, reading, and hearing from other people. It makes the stages through which you move to identify your goal more personalized and enables you to have a better grasp on how to achieve your success – it facilitates belief in yourself and a more positive outcome.
Warning: There are many, many styles of learning and what works for you may not work for someone else. There are many folks who cannot comprehend that you might have a different style. That is why I have chosen to teach folks about change in the form of small workshops designed for them. I find that If I can assist a person in identifying their own style or couples how to team up their differing styles, that people can achieve more satisfaction in their lives and the transitions they are making. If I give a lecture or a list of rules, I have not guided a person to their own best resources. Teaching a hungry person to fish is the way I like to proceed – it just feels like the right thing.