Learn, Practice, Train

Ann Leach, #whynotwalk
2 min readMay 18, 2022

“That’s why the philosophers warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. For as time passes we forget what we learned and end up doing the opposite, and hold opinions the opposite of what we should.” — Epictetus, Discourses, 2.9.13–14

Image created by Ann Leach

Whether learning information or skills, the more we interact with what we are learning, the better we will learn it. When we immerse ourselves in a body of information or skills, we are able to absorb the knowledge more thoroughly.

Information is cross-referenced in our brains as we relate the new data with other things we have learned, as we relate it to the music we listened to while reading it, as we relate the words we read to words we are later writing, and so on.

Skills are committed not just to brain memory, but also to muscle memory as we practice them over and over and over. So we don’t have to consciously think about how to do a movement but can instead focus on other details in the moment of execution.

I wonder if the training Epictetus is referring to is actually training others which will bring to the forefront where our own knowledge or ability is lacking. I found that to be when I started teaching ballroom dancing. Skills I thought I knew front to back and back to front weren’t as polished as I thought.

One of the reasons I write is to unload what I think I know about a topic, turn it over, and find the cracks in my thinking. When I attended Uni, I was the one in class constantly asking questions, adding comments, and looking for ways to relate the new material to my own experiences to make what I was learning more meaningful and less abstract.

Join me in reading and discussing The Daily Stoic*: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

Ann Leach regularly publishes about Home Education (Homeschooling), Stoicism, Homemaking, Minimalism, and others. She lives in Sunbury, Victoria with her daughter and 2 cats, and enjoys an afternoon cuppa, time with friends, working jigsaw puzzles, and time outdoors walking and bicycling.

Ann Leach, #whynotwalk

Homeschooling Mum, Environmentalist, Living Simply and Minimally, Learning and Growing Every Day, Living Carless by Choice in Victoria, Australia