A Hierarchy of Balls

Circa 2009, I was at a small party, wandering around, when I stumbled on the most curious room. There were balls…everywhere. Soft suede beanbags were strewn across the room, leading to an athletic looking guy at the other end of the room. He casually asked if anyone wanted to learn to juggle. My love of off beat things convinced me to take the offer, and I never looked back.

Years later, and here I am looking at puzzled faces as I describe juggling as “extremely profound”. I’m here now to tell you one reason why I describe it that way.

Learning to Learn

One of the most significant things I have taken from juggling is learning the techniques of how to learn, and learn efficiently. In juggling every pattern or trick can be broken down into simpler and simpler patterns. If there is a pattern you wish to learn, no matter how complex, you can. By breaking it down to a form simple enough to grasp, it is easy to find a starting point. As I learned more patterns, I found this way I was learning juggling, was a skill that could be applied to anything.

No matter the subject, and no matter how complex, it was only a matter of breaking things down into simpler, more manageable parts. My long hours juggling drilled this technique into my mind, to the point I could intuitively apply it to any subject. I applied it to previously existing skills, such as guitar and writing, as well as new skills and studies.

After some time I had a new realization about this hierarchical process to learning. It could be applied beyond just learning information and skill sets.

Learning the Process of Life

I adapted this way of learning into goal setting. This hierarchy/priority based goal setting method wasn’t anything new, it was the intuitive understanding of the method through juggling that made it different.

All goals can be broken down into multiple, more simple goals, often referred to as action steps. Sometimes, though, that is not enough, and the action steps you face could still be too daunting. So break it down further, until you feel the steps ahead of you are easily manageable.

As I followed this method, I found confidence in it. Every new goal needed to be deconstructed less and less to feel doable. My brain adapted to this hierarchy way of thinking, and much of life became easy to handle.

I found software that visualized this method through Mind Mapping programs, further optimizing the process. Mind maps can be made anywhere you have access to a computer, or a pen and paper. If I were stuck with one method of goal setting/achieving, it would be this one. Though combined with other programs, like setting priorities and creating routines, it can be optimized further.

No matter what it is you wish to achieve, I encourage trying this for yourself, and seeing how it works. I also encourage juggling. Besides it possibly providing a deep understanding of learning, it has also shown many other benefits in relation to mental health, memory, physical health, and intelligence. All of which I will go into further in later posts.

I hope this method can help those stuck, and further motivate those already on a goal oriented path. Now go play with balls.