ANNA PENG

Lessons from Piano Class

When I was a kid, I had a teacher who would come by my house every Tuesday to teach piano for 40 minutes to an hour.

She would sit on the side and I would play the notes on the books, ending off every session with a sticker as a reward.

The very beginning was okay. I tried my best to learn the notes, the scales, the finger exercises, and to keep up song practice every day. But as time passed, I began to lose momentum and interest. Bit by bit, week after week, year after year.

I was a student. She was my teacher. Yet by the 5th year I felt like as if there was nothing left to learn. All I was doing was following the numbers, following the notes, following what the books told me to do. It wasn’t because I was really good or talented (far from it), but it was because as a student I stopped feeling invested in the process. Soon enough, my teacher also stopped feeling invested in my process.

And you’d think that if neither of us cared that much to be there, then the classes would end.

We dragged on for several more years, with each one becoming more and more unbearable.

Mom’s money kept coming in to feed the lessons, and the piano teacher kept coming back every week to show up.

And what I came to realize is that I was in a broken culture of learning.

It’s a culture of learning where we believe just putting the money through the system will make things better. Where it’s okay if the teacher and student aren’t really invested in each other, but because a transaction is made it’s okay to stir up emotional friction and distance for both parties.

So where do we move on from here? How do we move towards a better culture of learning as students?

We can either choose to keep feeding the same system—the one that is lazy, unpersonalized, and doesn’t care about you. Or, we can try to seek more emotional understanding, more human connection, and more intent to listen.



Relief

Relief. The feeling we get when it wasn’t as bad as we thought it’d be.

And even, way better than you’d ever imagine it to be.

Relief comes when we take a chance to try something that might not work, instead of insisting that it won’t and resent that it never came to be.

It’s the thought knowing that you did, even when you told yourself that you couldn’t or shouldn’t.

Today marks the first day of the Habit Factory cohort, and I’m relieved to say that I think we’ll have a phenomenal 14 days ahead.


When Always Right Goes Wrong

Feeling entitled to being right can come at a steep cost.

It comes at the cost of making others feel unneeded, unheard, and unnecessary, because whatever we say or do will be overwritten by somebody who feels the need to be right.

Sooner or later, people will stop listening.

A little humility can go a long way. 

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