Thoughts Concerning Mental Productivity

5 Jul

Over the years I have found my ability to learn depends so much on my frame of mind and on the amount of energy I possess.  This last Greek lesson is a perfect example.  On Monday I have a quiz on contracted verbs.  This has required me to figure out, when two vowels come together in some verbs the contract.  Learning these has been spread over two lessons.  The first one, I handled easily but when I sat down and put my mind to the next chapter on the following day I couldn’t make heads or tails of it and became overwhelmed.  Feeling overwhelmed I stared at the page and half of me continued to attempt learning while the other half moaned pitiably that they hadn’t made it clear enough and that I couldn’t learn the material well enough for the quiz on Tuesday.  Today I again sat down and looked at the chapter.  I felt calmer and had finally recovered from my weekend cold.  In under twenty minutes I had made sense of the rules and had set myself to memorizing the pattern and picking up on what was irregular in certain sets of conjugations.  I plan to review all of this later tonight and I feel confident that the review will produce fruit.  I will be prepared for tomorrow’s quiz.  But why did this happen?  Why are there times when my mind is incapable of seeing the order of a thing and is instead thrown into a frustrated muddle?  It’s comforting to know that I am indeed capable of learning this ancient language but disconcerting to realize that my mind is not always fit for thinking well.

When I was younger and even in the first couple years at St. John’s I suffered from this incapability on a far more regular basis.  Maturing and adopting better sleeping and eating habits, along with years working at learning have improved my capability to think dramatically.  I just wish the activity wasn’t so dependent on my mind and my body’s energy being in the right place.  Maybe the greater tragedy is that oftentimes, when I am feeling the best, I want to do something else; namely, talk to someone.

Another irregularity is when I feel completely stagnant and incapable of productive mental activity.  Then, through reading a particularly compelling author, I’ll find myself with the burning need to put my thought down, to write.  Having become aware of this, sometimes when I am trying to push myself to write, I’ll read an author who I know inspires me to do so.


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