About 5months ago, I finally summoned the courage to take swimming classes. Job hasn’t come yet, I’m having a lot of free time on my hands and I still got some little change to spare. Though the classes cost more than ‘little change’ that I even had to split the payment in half, I thought it was necessary that I learn, and I fancied myself an overkill by going for professional training. There was no pressure to learn, neither was there any particular inspiration from any angle. I’ve just always loved the idea of swimming, and movies make it so much fun……..
Now to what brought about this. I found out most people need to be ooohed or aaahed into pursuing an interest.
(A friend, after scrolling through swimsuit pics and currently settled on videos I made while learning)
‘Oooh you now swim!’
‘I’m still learning o. Hehe’
‘Ahhh like this!… learning ke.. (she paused the video while urging me to watch what she’d seen, incase i did not realise it was me in the video swimming)… I want to learn too o. When do you go so I can come along’
Because swimming is perceived as a fun activity, and if friend A can do it, you too can. Right? People also need to be presented with an incentive or a defined objective before an oohed-aaahed activity can be pushed further into a necessary-skill-to-possess.
‘Err… come with your money to pay’
‘Oh…(and here comes the change in vibe)…You’re paying for it? Is there a competition…?’
‘Then why are you learning “learning”?'(notice the double-word emphasis)
‘I should not learn to swim? Bia, you, why do you want to learn?’
‘..err I’m just saying.. It’s not like you will use it for anything in particular, hian, this one that you’re paying sef…’
We need to have to come across a $2,000 award benefit for a cyclist winner before we decide to learn to ride a bicycle, if not, what are you learning to ride a bicycle for. An idea or interest conceived in the mind is not enough to brew the body into action, there has got to be a reason to plunge into an activity or service even if you can (easily) afford it, time-wise or money-wise. And if you have to put time and/or money into it, it should at least be something you’re passionate about.
This kind of mindset needs to be done away with because it keeps our brain poor. People make faces at those that find hobbies just for their personal satisfaction and amusement. There are those others that find it absurd to learn what they were not “born” with, as they’d put it. Like, if you don’t have the “gift” of singing or dancing, organizing, managing, you shouldn’t try to force nature by learning them.
We’re slowly progressing a world were attaining a number of skills won’t be a feel-like-to-have, but a must-have, for convenience or flexibility’s sake. Some countries are there already with the majority of the middle-class population executing common tasks by themselves and not having to outsource them.
Granted, some skills are dispensable and you could live a life time not being aware of them and it wouldn’t matter -my ex-boss knows how to survive in a desert if he ever gets unfortunate to be there. (This is not to throw shades at the survival skill. He knows a lot that I wonder how he keeps tab and remembers each of them when they’re needed)- but learning(when you can afford to), for that one time it might be needed can save a lot of hassle in the future.
A friend of mine thinks this is not a fair way to live, as this puts some people in the service business out of jobs, because not everybody is cut out for traditional professions like medicine or law. How I heard it, it came off like saying we shouldn’t permit cars because then horses wouldn’t have a reason for existence or we shouldn’t support speedboats because the canoe riders would go hungry. So now we shouldn’t make those pancakes or bake meals so the chefs don’t lose their mainstay occupation? Or learn to change tires and see to the car engine, so the mechanics can keep making way?
I don’t think anyone that learns to mend/make dresses themselves, or properly cut their hair/beards with a clipper does so because they feel it’s about time they put others out of their means of livelihood. The world is really just moving forward.