” Can you teach your eight hour class in four hours without cutting a lot out?”
“Your two-day class takes a long time. And it looks like really hard work. Can you cut out some of the exercises without losing any of the learning?”
“My group really is scared of complicated classes. What can you do to make the topic simple so no one has to ask any questions or see a demo?”
I hear these questions at least twice a month for almost any class I teach. That means whether you are writing, or learning an art technique, or taking business writing, the goal is not to work or learn, but to get through a day without much mental sweat.
Fun, easy, simple classes are wonderful. Many things that are easy and simple are valuable and worth learning.
But there is value in things that are complicated. Struggle with something and conquer it and you have two valuable outcomes–you’ve learned something new and you have learned that you are strong enough to stick with something worthwhile.
Sadly, challenges are getting a bad name. If something is hard, it is the teacher’s perceived job is to make it easy. I’ve seen the title workshop become “playshop” because who wants to work hard after they’ve paid money?
Teachers are not meant to hand people pre-digested solutions to solve problems or to complete a project. Part of personal growth is in the struggle, is in finding solutions, is in completing the work. No one loves failure, but it can be part of a larger success. A life that has no challenges, whose answers come supplied by others does not add any significant learning or meaning.
Struggle for the sake of struggle is not useful. But working hard for what you want brings rewards independent of winning. And rewards are worth working for.
—Quinn McDonald draws out the brave in people. She admires the brave meaning-makers far more than winners.