Listening and Questioning:
As we head out of the beginning curve of our In-Depth projects, we’re focusing on two big ideas: Listening and Questioning. Out of all de Bono’s topics so far, this one has helped me the most. My last two weeks of In-Depth have been anything but ordinary, and it brought up a lot of questions for both me and my mentor.
Right after my third In-Depth post, my yoyo broke. This was a huge setback. I was practicing my yoyoing skills as per usual and on a certain aggressive throw, I threw the yoyo off the string. The string broke, the yoyo dented, the bearing was messed up, padding came off, and I’m ninety percent sure I cracked my bed slightly. When I first did it I was in disbelief. I stood there as my Mum asked what the loud crash was. Honestly, I had no idea what to do.
I didn’t know what to do and I talked to my mentor in somewhat of a worried frenzy. This is where de Bono’s topics of listening and questioning became key. I had so many questions that even de Bono would be proud.
How should I get a new yoyo? How are we going to meet? What if the yoyo takes too long to ship? And mainly, what am I supposed to do?
After my frantic questions were all out and I had calmed down a bit, we just had a discussion. Our discussion started with me explaining what went wrong, and what the problem was. He listened and I explained. Then finally his first words were,
“You got lucky if you think about it.”
I was confused, but he was right and now it was my time to listen. I was already looking into buying a new yoyo, so this just sped the process up. It also gave me some breathing room for the project where I could take a break. Nolan made it clear that,
“You have to find a balance where yoyoing isn’t work. The best yoyo masters enjoy what they do. It’s a hobby, not a job. Yoyoing should be enjoyable and fun, so the moment it isn’t, just take a break.”
I ended up doing that and taking a break from yoyoing (especially since I didn’t have a yoyo). After a week off I got right back into it. The yoyo that I ordered will be shipped by March 1st, I set up a new meeting time with Nolan, and we planned out that we would talk about the history and workings of yoyos. It was great to have someone to talk to and listen to, and de Bono’s concepts supported me throughout the process and later during our meeting as well.
Then when it came to the actual meeting, we decided to focus mainly on history and research. With my broken yoyo, we went over the parts of a yoyo and how it works. Basically, yoyos have several parts. First here are the wings/body. These are the halves of the yoyo, normally connected by a screw (aka the axle). They balance the yoyo and make tricks easier the farther apart they are. Then there are spacers and friction pads. These keep the halves separated and make it so the string winds up smooth. Lastly, there’s the bearing. There are unresponsive (bind to bring up) and responsive (tug to bring up) bearings. These are what let the yoyo spin for long periods of time. Lastly, there’s the string, but we’re going to talk more about that next week when my yoyo is delivered.
“This is why learning about how to yoyo’s work is also important.”, Nolan explained. If I would have known all this, I also would have known to recognize that my string was getting old and needed to be replaced.
Our meeting was great because it’s not like learning a normal skill. Having a mentor allows you to have conversations and work one-on-one. Listening isn’t just sitting in a classroom. It’s following instructions, it’s asking questions, it’s being engaged in what you’re being told, and having a mentor is perfect for that. I can work with a yoyo (even a broken one) and be physically engaged.
These last couple of weeks I was still able to get a lot of work done. Besides my meeting, I researched the history of yoyos (below) as Nolan instructed, and it was cool learning about the first Dunkin yoyos and how that spurred the 90’s yoyo craze and modern yoyoing. I also ordered my yoyo and it is in the mail. It was a bit of a setback, but I’ll be on track for next week.
Near the end of our meeting, I learned that my mentor got into yoyoing because his “brother hooked me into it. I was amazed and worked off that feeling to keep practicing”. I’m trying to adopt some of that mentality. I enjoy yoyoing, and I should make sure that’s what drives me.
Until next time…
Research and Photos: