One of the things that’s been interesting as we’ve watched this virus challenge evolve and move through the first half of 2020 is how agonizingly slow it seems the learning process is. I don’t know that we often have the opportunity to really watch the learning process from day one. If we think about things that we’ve been working on for years like finding answers to cancer, or discussing the education system, or the different culture and race conflicts and genocides over the centuries, or even world hunger and the need for clean water, in many of the situations we’ve been able to make some progress and have a starting point at which to turn or can look at what people have done before us that has worked on one level or another.
And yes, in some ways we can turn to old standards to get some answers like doing autopsies, talking with medical professionals who have been part of crisis zones, and running known medical diagnostics on samples. But even now, some six months into this fight, we’re still learning new things every day and there’s still so much doctors don’t know yet and may not know for months if not years. You may have heard the saying that you can learn something new (and be good at it) by investing somewhere between 20 and 10,000 hours. I know, that’s a huge difference, but it depends on what you’re learning and how much of an expert you want to become at it. But as I’ve said before, learning really should be part of our whole lives, and we should be continually learning.
I think we forget how long some things do take, because we have so much at the tips of our fingers through the internet, or a few messages away through the internet with an expert who does know. These past six or so months have given those of us who are part of the general population, a really good idea of the roller coaster ride that doctors and scientists have gone on for many years with the cancer, Alzheimer/dementia and HIV studies just to name a few. I’m not saying that I think we need a shortcut or to have all the answers (although some more answers would be reassuring for everyone on all of these counts), but that the learning process, like success, sometimes takes a long time, certainly longer than we would like. Of course, there are often some things we can do to keep progress moving and continue learning and being successful, and sometimes that progress involves figuring out what doesn’t work.
How can you show patience while making progress on your success journey this week?