Monthly Archives: August 2017

Slow Learning: Personalised

Paul Gilmore

The current Monday episodes are a bit of a departure for us, as we’re talking about a topic that sits more at the periphery of slow living rather than the centre of it. We’re talking about learning, and  last week we began by talking about how we learn and the impact it has on how well we make changes to our lives.

One of the most common issues we hear about from our listeners is not a lack of information on certain areas of slow living – in fact sometimes there feels like there’s too much! – but a lack of strategies on how to actually put those changes in to action and stick with them.

We’ve been trying to rectify that this year with the practical takeaways at the end of most of our Monday shows, but we wanted to really dive in to learning and why we might be better served by taking the time to understand how we best learn, and what we can do to make ourselves better learners.

Ben is incredibly passionate about the different ways of learning and is definitely the expert in this series! And in today’s poggie we focus on and examine the traits of a personalised learner, which, coincidentally, is what Ben identifies himself as.

A personalised learner is the champion of their own destiny. They are highly individualised in the way they like to learn, preferring one-on-one coaching or tailored courses set up to deliver learning expectations that are unique to their own needs and circumstances. They don’t often thrive in communal learning situations or online courses aimed at a broad range of people, instead preferring their learning to be, well, personalised.

For example, Ben has struggled a lot with developing a meditation practice, and he thinks it’s partly to do with the fact that he can’t find a program or app that is specific to his needs. He would be better off working one-on-one with a coach for a few weeks, get the specific information he needs, and then using that to establish his practice.

We talk about the pros and cons of this mode of learning in today’s episode, and I realise that I probably need to do a little more of this kind of learning, rather than continue to fall in to the well-worn grooves of past behaviour. Ben, on the other hand, can recognise that by only learning in this way, he’s missing out on a huge range of benefits.

Do you identify as a personalised learner? Someone who wants to pay for the coach or look for the tailored plan? Do you think it’s helpful in learning to slow down and simplify? Or what are the limitations for you? I find this fascinating as it’s totally different to me and my natural mode, so I’d love to hear from you!

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The sharing economy in action with Justin Morrissey of Toolo

The sharing economy in action with Justin Morrissey of Toolo

Adam Sherez

Way back in the day I used to run a blog called The Lavender Experiment. It wasn’t very interesting and I think approximately 6 people read it, but it holds a special place in my heart nonetheless. I can’t remember if it was on The Lavender Experiment or somewhere else, but I wrote a post many years ago about creating a tool sharing co-op. A place where people donated their under-used tools and appliances and, as members, could borrow from all the items in the library whenever they needed to.

It was an idea I first tapped in to after listening to Rachel Botsman’s TED talk, where she spoke about the average life span of a power drill, and how, on average, that drill might be used for 10-12 minutes. Ever. I loved the idea of pooling and sharing resources, but I had no idea where to begin exploring it, let alone how it would be received. Plus, I had two babies and no time, so the idea stayed in my head. BUT, fast forward a few years and that future is now.

Today I speak to Justin Morrissey, the founder of Toolo, the Blue Mountains’ first tool library and co-op, and I couldn’t be more excited. A huge part of slow living is based in community and environmental stewardship, and tool libraries are a big step in the right direction.

In this episode Justin and I get really practical, as he explains to me how he began the library (and what drove him to do so in the first place) as well as his advice for people who may want to start a library in their own community. We also look at how the organisation is structured and the work that went in to it before launching, as well as the vital role that volunteers play in its ongoing success.

We also talk about the issue of convenience, and why our mindset needs to shift from one of immediacy to one of preparation (we can’t expect these resources to operate in the same way as the local Bunnings or big box store) and how learning to let go of the ego of ownership is a big part in the change too.

If you listen to today’s episode and want to know more about starting or running a tool library yourself, I’d really encourage you to get in touch with the team at Toolo, as they’re a wealth of expertise and are happy to work with other communities looking to make the change. And if you live in the Blue Mountains, sign up and support Toolo! They need to make it to 150 members by 2018 in order to keep running and that means it’s on us to support them.

Enjoy!

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Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

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Slow Learning

Slow Learning - Episode 184 of The Slow Home Podcast GoaShape

We’ve got something a little different lined up for the next four weeks, and while at first glance it might not seem to be too closely related to the practicalities of slow living, (Ben had to do a little convincing, if I’m being honest) anyone currently struggling with certain areas of slow living is going to benefit from it a lot. Me included!

So, the next few weeks we’re going to explore slow learning.

Growing up, being seen as a slow learner was a negative. It suggested there were things we struggled with, and that was something to be ashamed of. I am a very slow study myself. I take a long time to grasp a new idea or action, waiting until the heavy click of things falling solidly in to place before I can exclaim, “Ahh, I get it now.” The benefit to that is usually once I’ve got something, it’s well and truly got (gotted? gotten?).

What I’ve realised is that absorbing information is only part of the picture, and the experiments we ran in 2016 taught me that in order to actually learn, I needed to do. This is what’s called experiential learning and Ben and I talk about this in today’s episode.

One of the common obstacles people face in learning to slow down and simplify is the one-step-forward, two-steps-back dance that often accompanies it. There is so much information available for us as we try to establish what approach works for us, and often we simply immerse ourselves in as much of it as possible. The problems arise when either we don’t spend our time in the doing, or when we try to learn in a way that doesn’t work for us personally.

That’s exactly what I did when I first discovered simple living, and threw myself headlong in to the the archives of Zen Habits, Becoming Minimalist and Be More With Less. I tried learning as much as possible about becoming a minimalist, decluttering and letting go. But the problem was, I didn’t do much with that information. And when I did, the changes I made often wouldn’t stick.

I’ve realised this was because I was trying to learn everything, and often learn it in ways that didn’t come naturally to me.

This is why it’s so important to understand what kind of learner you are, and that’s what we’re going to focus the next few weeks of Monday shows doing.

Today, Ben goes through the three different types of learner (do you recognise yourself as one in particular?):

    • Personal learner – every form of learning needs to be personalised to their unique needs and circumstances. The personal learner doesn’t want to learn unless it’s a challenge.
    • Collaborative learner – learns through others and their actions. The collaborative learner critically analyses the behaviour of others and tailors that behaviour to themselves and their own situation. As a kinaesthetic learner, these people have to do in order to learn.
  • Informal learner – will learn anywhere/anytime. Online learning is a great example of an informal learner and is in many ways opposite to institutionalised systems of learning such as degrees and other formal qualifications.

The key takeaway of this week’s episode is very simple. We’d like you have a think about the various types of learner and ask yourself which sounds most like you. After you know this, it will be easier to establish the strengths of that type of learning, as well as any potential pitfalls and how you may be able to bolster them using other strategies. From there, everything opens up! 

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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On boundaries, compromise and communication

On boundaries, compromise and communication - Episode 183 of The Slow Home Podcast Annie Spratt

This will probably come as a surprise to exactly no-one, but I used to really over-complicate things (and sometimes still do). I would over-engineer solutions and spend huge amounts of time trying to get right down deep in to the specific thoughts, behaviours or actions that were causing problems. And while I believe we sometimes need to ruminate on things for a while before clarity comes knocking, other times I think we just need to simplify.

It’s always fascinating to me that I arrive back at the same handful of answers whenever I question the way I’m living life. No matter how varied the issues or problems seem, the answers I come back to are usually a variation on only a handful of ideas:

    • create and respect boundaries
    • we don’t exist in a vacuum and relationships are about compromise, empathy and flexibility
    • we need to take responsibility for our own choices and actions
    • figure out what your priorities are and put them in the centre of your life – every day
    • communication is important
  • being an example is one of the most persuasive forms of communication (but not the fastest!)

In today’s hostful episode, Ben and I inadvertently strike upon most of these ideas in answering your questions, and it was a great reminder to me that so many of our problems can be solved by softening, accepting, simplifying and prioritising.

The questions you’ve submitted for this month’s hostful are insightful and challenging, which is something I always look forward to, and Ben and I try our best to answer them:

    • How do we manage different personality types within the family (introvert v extrovert, the needs of solitude v constant companionship, etc)?
    • How do you adjust to things being out of control / out of what you had planned? And how do you regain calm / slow when life takes over?
    • What to do when one of your kids is a hoarder and leaves their many belongings all over the house?
    • What do you grow in your garden and what are your best tips for a serial plant killer?
    • What sorts of mindful exercise do you enjoy (aside from yoga and hiking?)
  • What are you reading/listening to? And what do you enjoy reading aloud to your children?

There is a lot of talk about acceptance and softening in to discomfort in today’s episode, and I think it’s a really important part of learning to live more mindfully, more slowly and more presently. Life is uncomfortable and so much of it is out of our control, and I’ve personally found that by allowing myself to feel that discomfort, the tension actually diminishes more quickly than it would if I was trying to fight it.

That’s not to say it’s easy, of course, but I do think this idea of “feel your feelings” is very worthwhile.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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