Learning from Input or Output?

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 64 (January 2003)

Many of our readers appear to have in common the problem written about by one of them, as follows. In a message dated 12/2/02, W. S. writes:

…..all my life at school, through college and now in employment, I’ve had this recurring problem. I’ve read a lot, studied but never feel intellectually competent enough to be good at what I do. I always seem to get by but feel I’m hiding and always seem to have strategies to avoid being found out.

Around five years ago I thought I’d had enough of this, I wanted to feel I had some creativity and something to offer the world. Who wants to be a little cog in the wheel, too frightened to take control of one’s future.

I embarked firstly on Education — got a few credits from the Open University. Then I rethought and moved on to Metaphysics and thought my answer lay there. I have an electronic ‘mind machine’ which I used to enter various brain-wave states to induce meditation, learning, relaxation, etc.

Then I read more on the brain, right- and left-brain theories, hypnosis, the subconscious mind and loads of other theories, etc. I trained my memory using mnemonic techniques. At one point I could recite pi to 100 decimal places — and for what reason, you may ask; I ask myself that as well.

Here I am, hiding in a cruddy job, knowing inside me that there is something better but can’t find that key to unlock the door.

I have looked at NLP and Photoreading techniques. All to no avail …..I’m even a little scared when kids ask me to help them with their toys or game — I’m always thinking maybe I can’t. This is from a guy forty years of age.

I just can’t find that intellectual spark when a problem arises or I have to try something completely new. My way of answering those types of situations is to run away at high speed. What I would give for the one situation where I could be given a completely new problem, look at it creatively and SOLVE IT. This would be the new me. …

I would truly appreciate your advice on how to approach this major life problem. I believe your work has tremendous worth, but what frightens me most about trying it is the thought of failure. Deep within I feel I’ve really something to offer the world, but how do I remove these shackles of intellectual inferiority?

Just as W.S.’s problem appears common to many, our reply to him may also provide some answer to many, hence this publication. Here is our reply, adapted as an article:

Dear W.S. — you, like practically everyone else, have centered on the notion of inputting information and skills. Over 2200 years ago, Socrates centered very productively on what could be gotten at from within a person, and that’s how our present work has evolved in these past several years.

Image Streaming is a start on that, but only a start.

Please look up the Winsights articles numbered 33555657 and 63, and the Feeding the Loop article in the Teaching and Learning Techniques section. I think this re-orientation can positively transform your life.

You have — already within you — all or almost all you need, if you switch some attention to your perceptions. The magic is there, not in someone else’s set of answers.

  • As a way to organize this focus and to develop it in depth for you, one option you might then also consider could be to write a book on human growth and development. Not with any expectations of publishing it — though that is not impossible — but just as a focus to develop your own perceptions, give them a growing framework. One of the best ways to learn a subject is to write a book on it.
  • Another focus might be some sort of systematic journaling.
  • Supporting either or both of these points of focus is the regular (daily) practice of posing yourself some question or problem and then solving it. Some of the techniques in CPS Techniques and in Winsights, plus some rounds of Image Streaming in the context of seeking answers and solutions, can support this practice and also directly give you some of what you’ve been seeking.

Thus you have, if you wish, a systematic way of building what you want from within yourself, instead of always just dumping other stuff in and hoping something will “take.” Further, when you do take stuff in, it will have someplace to go and grow, not just clutter up things as part of the jumble.

The thing I like about problem-solving as part of this systematic growth practice is:  “pretty is as pretty does.” When you are actually accomplishing things with this work, meaningfully helping others and yourself with it, it’s not just a hobby or an expensive self-indulgence (which is why most who dabble in this field don’t get past their first plateau). Your meaningful, satisfying, exploratory and rewarding growth is not a distraction or detour but a functional part of your living, which can carry on further and better than you ever dreamed to be possible.

I hope this helps. Thanks for asking. …Win Wenger

Note to our readers generally:  you are, indeed, brighter than you think. For a lifetime, especially in school and usually in the workplace, you’ve been told how wrong you are, how limited you are, how inadequate — and most people, even knowing better, have internalized much of that negative valuation. You can see it by its contrast to how babies learn — with total positive enthusiasm, and some 10,000 times faster than adults nowadays learn.

For 2200 years, Socratic educators have consistently demonstrated that a far greater depth and amount of knowledge and understanding and, indeed, genius are there within each and every one of us a priori than anyone could guess from dealing with us in non-Socratic everyday transactions.

Nearly everyone connected with schooling also has conceptualized learning to be the process of putting in information, and even nearly all of the various programs involved with accelerated learning assume that and ignore that tremendous a priori base which the Socratics for over 22 centuries have demonstrated consistently to be in every one of us.

Give some of the wonderful genius and content which you already have some chance to emerge. You know far more than you think you do; you understand far, far more than you think you do. Before choking down more inputs from someone else’s second-hand knowledge, give some attention to your own perceptions and to what your own inner genius has been trying to show you.

The information on this website is here to help, to provide some guideposts, but ultimately it’s not what’s here, either, but what you allow your own direct first-hand perceptions to show you, which will make all the difference.