Why We Don’t Learn
The three main reasons we don’t learn:
1. Stories and limiting beliefs: When we don’t believe in our ability to learn that subject, that move, that equation, that play
2. Fear of looking bad: When we’re afraid of being judged for failing so we’re resistant to the ugly, the struggle, effort, and failure that can lead to development
3. Buy in: When we don’t see the purpose of or value behind learning that subject, that move, that equation, that play
Stories, fear, and buy in.
We can use science and growth mindset to combat the stories and limiting beliefs that hold us back from growth. Growth Mindset = the belief in our capacity to learn and grow. A belief that’s supported with science. The science that tells us that skills are built, not born — and that they can be yours if you earn them.
Fear is trickier.
Step #1 is to upgrade the way we talk about it.
It’s common to tell ourself and others to be “fearless” or “don’t be scared.” This is flawed because it actually leads to more fear and hiding.
Because fear is hardwired into our brains. It’s our natural response to anything where the outcome is unknown or that involves effort and struggle. The only way to get rid of this fear is to hide— never put yourself out there, to not care, or to pretend like we don’t care.
If I’m taught to be “fearless” and faced with the inevitable fear that comes with a big moment (test, game, date, performance) I then assume that something is wrong, that I’m not ready, and my fear snowballs.
It’s best to be real about fear— to teach where it comes from, that we can’t get rid of it, that it’s normal to feel it, that we can learn to use it.
Step #2 is to understand that you will be bad first.
No matter what it is you’re trying to learn- that subject, that move, that equation, that play- you’re going to be bad first. We are literally built to learn through challenges and from mistakes. Rather than resisting these stumbles we have to lean into them. Understanding their value helps this leap.
The hardest one of the three. This is more of an art than science, and art doesn’t come with a blueprint.
Things that lead to more buy in:
Understanding the ‘why’ or purpose behind what you’re doing
Feeling like you matter
The art is to figure out how to connect these things with each and every one of your people— and it’s going to be different each time.
Which is why we call it art.