Longitudinal Learning

Our days are made up of repeating patterns.

The same walk we take, or transportation we ride in. The same elevators we stand in and lunch spots we frequent. The places we take our kids.

Try this: instead of going on auto-pilot in these spaces (or, worse, reflexively taking out your phone), stay present.

Use your eyes, your ears, your nose, to take in your surroundings.

If you do this, in time you’ll discover:

  1. Things you’ve literally never seen before, even if you’ve walked by them hundreds of time
  2. Subtle changes in a seemingly fixed landscape, changes that reveal surprising truths over time

Our brains are wired for pattern recognition, sense-making and storytelling.

This also means that we create shortcuts, losing the nuance of wherever and whenever we are, calling it “this elevator”, “that bus,” “that conference room” as if it’s fixed for eternity.

But our reality is not fixed, it is ever-changing, if only we take the time to notice.

Here’s an experiment: imagine each day in these “same places” is one frame in a movie that plays over time.

Then, imagine yourself watching that movie, with one frame from each day, over weeks, months or years.

What story would unfold?

What surprising changes would you witness?

And how much of what evolves comes from changes in the landscape versus changes in the viewer?

2 thoughts on “Longitudinal Learning

  1. I remember a friend telling me they decided to ride their bike to the coffee shop vs drive and that they noticed homes they had never seen before on streets they have always driven on. They noticed landscaping and cars in driveways etc that surprised them. Finally, mapping new brain patterns also keeps us sharp.

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