Integral Life Coaching

Learning Curve

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(671  words – 4.5 min read)

There are so many voluntary and involuntary learning opportunities in our life every day. The ones we choose most probably come with excitement and pleasure. The Involuntary learnings like new circumstances and changes of situation in our life can be accompanied with fear and stress sometimes.

Regardless of the type, any change has a learning curve. We need to realize we have a learning curve for each new change in our life. Changes are happening constantly and we are always learning.

Even when we start to learn about something we always wanted to learn about, we get discouraged if we feel we are not progressing fast enough. Frequently we forget there is a learning curve and set high expectations for ourselves to understand the new change faster than our capabilities. We forget we are learning.

If we pay attention to the complexity of the change and adjust our expectations, we can give ourselves a chance to come up to speed naturally and feel better about our learning process.

There are many factors that impact the speed of learning and one of the most important ones is realizing and remembering we are on learning curve.

To become a writer, I am trying to read many different kinds of books to learn more about writing styles and techniques. Learning to be a writer deals with many different factors and is a very new concept in my life. To build confidence as a writer, I am trying to be aware of my learning curve. The journey of becoming a writer, specifically a memoirist, is not separated from the journey of self-awareness. These go hand-in-hand to help the memoirist write the story of her life with honesty and dignity.

I learned something about myself when I started reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. I found myself not too attracted to it. I was not able to continue further than chapter one. I panicked and started thinking what was wrong with me?! Maya Angelou’s famous book and I am not attracted to it!! Am I crazy or have no sense of understanding literature??  Of course, the very next thought in my mind was “how do I expect anyone to like my book then? “.

Luckily, I recognized my negative self-thoughts right there. I let go of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and switched to listening to “The Color of Water” by James McBride and I liked it. He shows an amazing contrast of his mother’s life by switching from her youth to her adult life each chapter. I found myself liking her as an adult a lot better. I felt more comfortable with her adult life as a brave woman. I then read more about Maya’s biography online and started listening to her interviews on YouTube. I fell in love with the adult version of her. I was so moved by her wisdom.

I understand the pain she experienced in her childhood made the strong and wonderful Maya as an adult,  but I also remembered at this point in my learning process, I still need to hear about the strength of women a lot more than their repression. As selfish as it sounds, their suffering resonates with the memories of my youth in a negative way. Since I am still in the process of learning to feel “I am good enough”, I need to adjust the speed of my learning and delay reading books that I am not ready to read yet. It was right to stop reading Maya’s childhood story (she explains it so vividly that you find yourself in her) and it was right to listen to the words of wisdom in her interviews from later in her life. I adjusted to my learning curve. Later when I gain more wisdom, I am sure I will be able to read the story of her pain as a child and connect to it with strength.

Maya says: “when you know better, you do better”. I respect my learning curve.


Celebrate life!


Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit:


Author: Shabnam

Shabnam Curtis was born and raised in Tehran, experiencing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 firsthand. In 2004 she immigrated to the United States, where she now works as a passionate life coach and a writer. Shabnam is a certified Integral Coach with New Ventures West and International Coaching Federation. She offers one-on-one coaching sessions as well as workshops for groups. Since September of 2021, she also has been the life coach in residence for Dimension Science Bridges Non-profit organization.

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