Making good guesses

I spent yesterday repairing the sprinkler system in my mother's front lawn. One section has been steadily losing water pressure over the past year. I did some exploratory digging last summer, but could not find the problem. I made a guess of what would fix the problem. I spent yesterday running a new supply line to that section that bypassed the adjacent tree roots. It worked. Good guess!

It occurred to me that "making good guesses" is an essential component of fortunate learning. We are continually making guesses about which book to read, blog feed to subscribe to, link to follow, or comment to make. We have no idea if we are right. We can proceed with informed judgment, but no certainty. We can only make good guesses.

Unfortunate learners are making bad guesses. Their minds are interfering with making good guesses. They don't happen upon the serendipitous sequence of delightful next steps and fortunate discoveries.

In my experience, I "get it right" when I've reflected upon the situation serenely. When I give a challenge my fearless consideration, it dawns on my mind what to see, say and do. It feels like I am clear of obstructions to receiving those insights and intuitions.

My experience suggests how unfortunate learners make bad guesses. They reflect on their situation in an agitated state of mind. They give the challenge their fearful consideration. Their minds are filled with anxieties, frustrations and dreadful forecasts. They "get it wrong" by starting out in a state of mind that overrides their inspirations. They are trying too hard, thinking too much and mistrusting their serene approach to the problem.

Whenever we are calming learners down, we help them make good guesses. It helps to give them permission to "do their thing". That shows them ways to defy the social pressures to conform, struggle, comply and submit to authorities. Relieving their anxieties, easing their minds, accepting their condition -- all support their shifting into a receptive frame of mind.

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