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Where the Wild Things Are...

Chess is a Wild game

I've only been playing for a short time, but I've gained enough understanding to realize that the angles of entry, the focus of the pieces, the awareness that starts to become 'board-sense' are not trivial. 
But what has been on my mind the most are the stories I have to tell this year. I'm truly motivated and fascinated by the wild mind going on with me.

Self-Education is a Wild Game

What is daunting are the number of simple ways you can get it wrong and how far wrong your path can wander before you realize you are lost. Which is different than failing the test. Being lost is a threat. You can die being lost. You won't actually die failing a test, though your father may have said he would kill you -- but any more than that is criminal behavior and beyond the scope of today's issues. 
Too often we are interrupted in progress by the call to the obscure. These are not references to the impossible or the far fetched, but to very real, though not normal situations which call for specific information and skills to work around. These are often situations where a normal interaction has crossed the line into the criminal elements of our world.
Self-Education also becomes oppositional to the development of two important qualities for any creative --
Learning from other's mistakes
, and Following Directions.  These are non-intuitive weaknesses to the every system of self education. So much trouble is caused by delinquency in learning these skills it is a wonder that they are not approached with more deference and proactive support.  I know my life certainly would have flushed above the red book currents several more times if I had 1) known that these were skills I wanted, and 2) had someone capable of teaching them to me. 
But then that's the definition of self-education. No one to rely on, especially ourselves. 

Learning from Others Mistakes

This is not the same as Learning from Others, though that is a fine skill to have as well. No, this is developing the ability to observe, critique and learn from the actions and results of others while they attempt to solve a puzzle or develop a successful environment for their ideas. This is a skill of observation, which are indeed difficult to master, mostly because of the lack of insight from the observed. With no commentary we are missing a great deal from the start. Those who are said to have a natural talent for Chess, often have a grasp on this skill. 

The Following are some practices and actions which will  help make the most out of the chances you have to Observe:

Active Listening:

Practice attentive listening during conversations, lectures, or discussions. Focus on understanding the speaker's perspective, emotions, and underlying messages.

Visual Observation:

Develop the habit of keenly observing your surroundings. Notice details, patterns, and changes in your environment, fostering a heightened awareness.

Mentorship and Networking:

Seek guidance from mentors or experienced individuals in areas of interest. Network with people who have diverse experiences to gain insights from different walks of life.

Documenting Experiences:

Keep a journal to record your own experiences and reflections. Review and analyze past situations to identify lessons learned and

areas for improvement.
Learning from Mistakes:

Embrace mistakes as opportunities for learning. Analyze the consequences of actions, both yours and others', to understand the dynamics at play.

Observing Behavioral Patterns:

Pay attention to human behavior and social dynamics. Identify patterns in people's actions, reactions, and decision-making processes.

Multidisciplinary Learning:

Explore subjects outside your comfort zone to broaden your perspective. Connect concepts from different fields to enrich your understanding of complex issues.

Media Consumption:

Consume a variety of media, including documentaries, podcasts, and articles. Analyze different viewpoints and narratives to cultivate a well-rounded perspective.

Attend Workshops and Seminars:

Participate in workshops or seminars to learn from experts in specific fields. Engage in discussions and Q&A sessions to gain deeper insights.

Critical Reflection:

Regularly reflect on your own beliefs, assumptions, and biases. Challenge your perspectives and be open to adjusting them based on new information.

Peer Learning:

Collaborate with peers in group projects or discussions. Share experiences and learn from the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of others.

Mindfulness Practices:

Incorporate mindfulness techniques to improve focus and attention. Cultivate a present-moment awareness that enhances your ability to observe and absorb information.

The real pot of gold in this skill is really the improvement and honing of your interpretation of what others are going through. It is empathy turned up to 11 - and making a case for 12.

Following Directions

Following Directions is the other side of the coin. This is taking instruction, and following it without deviation until the task is complete -- at least once. It is dumping what you believe you already know and becoming open to the will and priorities of another. 

Activities and Practices that improve your ability to increase your ability for this skill are:
Recipe Execution:

Choose a complex recipe and follow each step precisely. Pay attention to ingredient measurements, cooking times, and instructions for optimal results.

Assembly Projects:

Engage in DIY assembly projects, such as furniture or model kits. Follow the provided instructions meticulously, ensuring each component is assembled according to the given steps.

Technical Tutorials:

Select technical tutorials or guides related to your interests or hobbies. Follow the instructions step by step, whether it's coding, building, or configuring a device.

Following Written Directions:

Practice following written directions for tasks like assembling furniture, setting up electronics, or performing maintenance. Resist the urge to skip steps or make assumptions about the process.

Team Exercises:

Participate in team-building exercises that require coordinated efforts. Follow group instructions, emphasizing effective communication and collaboration.

Role-Playing Games:

Play tabletop or online role-playing games where adherence to rules and instructions is crucial. Practice following the game master's guidance and rules without deviation.

Listening Comprehension:

Engage in activities that enhance listening comprehension. Follow spoken instructions in lectures, podcasts, or guided activities without interruption.

Physical Fitness Routines:

Follow exercise routines or fitness programs with specific instructions. Pay attention to proper form, repetitions, and rest intervals as directed.

Training Simulations:

Explore training simulations or simulations related to your field of interest. Complete tasks within the simulation strictly following the provided instructions.

Team Sports:

Participate in team sports that require coordinated movements and adherence to game rules. Focus on playing your assigned role without deviating from the team strategy.

Workplace Training:

Take part in workplace training sessions that emphasize following protocols and procedures. Practice applying guidelines in real or simulated work scenarios.

Artistic Instructions:

Follow step-by-step art tutorials for drawing, painting, or crafting. Adhere to the artistic instructions to create the intended final product.

You might have noticed some cross over between the two. This is the devil in the details. From personal experience, working on both skills in tandem isn't conducive to progress in either. But for the alteration in the perspective of the student, much of them are the same. Your milage may vary.

Good Luck and Have Fun

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