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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

Those who Master the Banal are sure-shots the Winner !!!

This might sound very different and hard to digest. But it is a fact that we generally fail because we tend to avoid learning thru the Banal. Banal is hackneyed. Banal is not exciting, not smart, insipid, not interesting. Rather tripe. An apple a day may keep the doctor away but eating an apple hardly seems to be on anyone's priority list.

Forget the outliers and the lottery winners. They are different. But if you otherwise analyse lives of people who are successful (I mean steady people who have sustained their success for a long period of time and who always seem to fall on their feet whichever way they fall ), you will observe a pattern in their learning behaviour. All successful people have mastered the art of learning through the banal. Now this defies all the basic principles of Andragogy (principles of adult learning) that we learnt until now.

Banal learning is about mastering the mundane says Jeff Olson. It is about tirelessly pursuing those simple non-exciting things that you repeatedly need to do every day such that over a period of time it reaches the critical 'tipping point' and then you reap the benefit. Say those 100 free-hand pull-ups you need to do every day...drink those 8 glasses of water each day to lose those 30 pages of Economic Theory every day to master the subject etc all. We know it but yet we don't do it. Needless to confess that we out rightly ignore our belief that success is a process that leads to a progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

Now if it is so straightforward, simple, easy and backed by sufficient evidence that banal learning delivers the desired results , then it should ideally be a no-brainer of a choice for anybody. Yet we desist from pursuing it. Let's labour to understand the likely reasons why people avoid banal learning :

Banal learning is not exciting, rather boring to follow routines. It's not sexy or attractive. No one collects your autograph. You learn fast- paced Zumba, it makes NEWS. You learn banal Yoga, and you barely find people interested.

Slow burn of banal learning does not make NEWS. Thrill and suddenness makes NEWS. When dog bites a man, it never makes NEWS. It is mundane. But if a man bites the dog, for sure it will make record on the FB. 'The Nation doesn't want to Know' the steady slow-burn Learners. Not NEWS worthy !!!

There is no immediate Visibility of Results. The time line between cause and effect in banal learning, follows a very long time-interval of realization. Actually, in the first blush, one even doubts if the banal stimulation can actually deliver the desired outcome.

Very easy to avoid doing it. When you cheating your diet, you do not immediately put on weight the same day. So often then you are tempted to cheat on it that itself becomes the pattern. The cost or penalty involved in avoiding the slow-burn solution, is not immediate. Thus it is easily is avoided.

Weak immediacy of linkage between routine efforts & desired results. We have long forgotten the concept of 'compounding' interests. We still view the world through one lens of simple interest. As you keep following the slow routine, it starts compounding the benefits. The compounding effect is rather unseen to the naked eye and thus not pursued, easily. But banal compounding is a reality and you actually gain heavily from that.

It requires lot of patience and huge investment of time backed by determination and discipline. All of these generally people have a penury of thus the avoid banal learning. We always want quick the here and now. Patience is not our virtue.

People unfortunately see success as a destination...not outcome of a process. We live in an age of 'two-minute' noodles and packed instant foods. Banal learning seems alien to the fast paced character of learners..

Our attention span is short. Our interest in any thing wanes within short time. It cannot be easily sustained for a very long period of time which learning through banality requires as a pre-condition.

Organisations that are somber and conservative, believe in sustainability of the slow- burn learning over empty speed. They have no place for learning that in any format is very sudden, just thrilling or has a very sharp point of 'Learning in flexion'. To them, the progressive learning through slow-fire tampering and mastering one thing at a time seems to be the prescribed proposition.

Repeated daily actions have huge unreleased potential for sure sustained success. Banal investments give sure-shot dividends. You need to master the art of unlocking the hidden potential and benefit from the value of learning through its banality.

Have patience. Chefs will tell you always that cooking over slow-flame gives you that special feel, smoothness and aroma.....but we citizens of the microwaving world...the fast food junkies.

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