I received feedback this morning on the last five days’ appraisal. I had written what I considered to be some interesting stuff over a period of time during which I have noticed a definite change in my progress. I gave it to Karaj last night and wanted him to read and comment on it before the end of today because I am going back to Rugby tonight. It was the first thing we did this morning and it was a most enjoyable two hours. He actually commented on the fact that I had wanted it done in time for today which surprised me because I had given no hint of the urgency I had felt. The power of intention.
Karaj explained that he simply knew without me having to say anything. It was the only work he did last night and he wasn’t even going to bother with that until the disk dropped out of the bag which contained all his paperwork from the week. It was as if he had no choice because I had wanted it to happen. As Karaj put it, ‘If I don’t do something for somebody it’s because they don’t want it done’. Karaj had done the work I had wanted him to do because I had wanted it done. Cool.
It occurred to me that there are so many parallels between my journey and the journey I took (am taking) learning German. During my first year in Germany it was hard. I had taken German at school and the grammar I had learned was the foundation upon which I would build. But the first six months in the country were very difficult.
I struggled with the language and was constantly tired due to the levels of concentration required. I was having to go through the laborious process of translating everything I said and heard from English to German and back again. After eight months I suddenly had the feeling that things had become much easier. I could do it. I started to dream in German and, most noticeably, I had no further need to translate anything – I knew what I wanted to say and I immediately understood what I was hearing.
That is how I have felt over the last week or so. I have the feeling that at last, after months of struggling with a new world, I am getting to grips with the essence of things. The translation process has thus far been mirrored by the analysis I have been performing in a desperate attempt to make sense of all that has been going on around me. This is now transforming itself into feeling and intuition as I begin to understand in an instant just what is happening. I have been tired since the middle of May, if not before – just as I was in Germany.
Looking back to that time in 1992, I considered myself to be fluent; and I was. But compared to now it was a more primitive fluency and, looking ahead, my knowledge and command of the German language will always continue to improve. There is no end to it – the scope for improvement is unlimited. Another element of the process is the sheer enjoyment I have had from learning the language.
Aside from the glow of satisfaction which my bilingual achievement has given me, German is a beautiful language. I love the way it sounds, the structure of the language and the nature of the vocabulary. Even the grammar has an attractive logic to it and the genitive is such a wonderful aspect – one of which we, in the English-speaking world, are sadly deprived. I continue to enjoy the fruits of my hard work and always will.
So it is with my journey of self development. Potential growth is infinite and the enjoyment I have had so far is but a fraction of the joy and benefit I will experience for the rest of my life. An important point in any learning process is: the more I learn, the more I know, and the more I know, the more I learn.
Another attraction of Germany for me, which also mirrors the process of self-development is the cultural transformation which the country and its people have undergone over the centuries. The process of maturation is the same whether for an individual, a culture or a society (the comments in square brackets were added by Karaj and relate to the four stages of competence):
Excitement as initial growth occurs. This is necessary in the beginning to carry the individual onwards.
[The individual has already moved on from unconscious incompetence – we don’t even know we have a problem – and is now in conscious incompetence – knowing we have a problem we need to deal with. This is hard work.]
Development causes the individual to become cocky with his progress. It is at this stage that the fall back down to earth occurs. The fall, however, does not necessarily wake the individual up. Many people remain in their arrogance and progress no further. It is important to note that arrogance and the subsequent fall can occur at any point on the journey. The further one progresses, the greater the potential for falling and the more damaging the fall when it occurs.
[This is the conscious competence. Concentration and improvement. Tiring. Need to be aware all the time. A danger of cockiness.]
Once the individual has picked himself up from his fall he realises just how far he has to go on his journey. This is, perhaps, the most crucial stage because it is here that most people falter in their progress.
[A combination of conscious competence and conscious incompetence. There is still a long way to go.]
Life becomes much easier once we accept our place in the great scheme of things. Comparisons are futile, comments are superfluous. All we can do is adopt a quiet humility about our life.
[Unconscious competence. Our learning has become an integrated part of us.]
Tonight was also the men’s group. We discussed the situations in which whatever we do is never enough. The only action available to us is to verbalise our dilemma: ‘Whatever I do, I can’t win’. There’s no need to say any more. Just be aware and alert. And if we can predict such a situation before it happens, then we can relax and enjoy the spectacle.
Karaj said that I am a godsend to him. We work very well together, which he could never have imagined. Also, he hears what I say and listens to me. He later told Calvin that it is okay to not understand. I have not understood Karaj’s methods with me which has meant one less filter for it all to go through, thus making it more effective. Whereas Sunil, who understands, must wrestle with that very understanding in order to [block his] progress.