March 5, 2012
In my life there has been one thing that is constant – learning. I have always enjoyed learning – so much so that I decided to go into it as a profession. The thing that never ceases to amaze me is that some trivial or ‘boring’ thing that I had come across suddenly becomes extremely interesting once I begin to learn more about it. Take my own language for example. I’ve never been the best speller or had the most elaborate vocabulary. I was never really interested in it. That is until I started to realize the roots of the English language. I started learning about the history of certain words and phrases and became fascinated. I wish I could remember a specific example here – but I seem to be at a loss.
Another, perhaps more potent example is my interest in the field of statistics. I was like most students in college when I was forced (yes and it was forced) to take statistics for my major. I hated it. I did not understand the process or why I even needed to take this dreadful class. I ended up taking statistics again in various forms at least 4 more times. It was only when I started to be more active in my own research that I learned the finer aspects of statistical analysis. This fascination started through regression analysis with interactions. I never knew that such an analysis could be done and it opened my eyes. From there multivariate analyses become fascinating. Once I began to understand more of these more complex analyses, I went back to my old t-tests and ANOVAs and noticed (finally) what was going on and why. I also was entered into the world of nonparametric statistics which opened my eyes even more!
So something I thought was boring really wasn’t – I just didn’t understand it. Once you begin to understand something – I think it starts to become more interesting. Here’s another – Geography. What high schooler enjoys geography! But start learning about HOW those borders were created and changed and the geographical influences on the cultures that live in that area and it does become interesting.
So, the next time that you find yourself bored by some topic ask yourself first am I bored simply because I do not understand? Granted there are things in the world that are boring even when you know about it. But I think that the opposite is more likely true. Ask any soccer, baseball, or hockey fan. How could anyone be interested in a game where there is so little scoring? Learn the finer points of these games and you will soon learn why each sport has its ardent fans. It’s not about the scoring (well, yes it is) but even more so it is about the gamesmanship and strategy leading up to the score. There is truly nothing better than an elegant hockey goal through traffic, the corner kick and header into a soccer goal, or the triple play in baseball.