Enemies of Learning

Recently, I heard about a program that helps adults learn how to ride a bike.  These are folks who did not learn how to ride when they were young, for a variety of reasons, and wanted to be able to experience the fun that most of their family and friends were having.  What really struck me, when hearing some of the participant’s stories, was that those barriers to learning for them, exist for all of us, just in different arenas.

The list of enemies of learning is pretty long. I’ll focus on just a few here though.  The most common, and probably the one strongly at play with those adults just learning to ride a bike, is “I should already know” – I call this ‘should-ing on yourself’.  If we do this enough, we can spend an extraordinary amount of energy telling ourselves that we should already know it, when it would be more valuable to simply accept that at this moment – I do not know, and move into learning.

Another barrier is the one that says “I have to be totally clear and 100% prepared before I move in this new direction”.  Procrastination is fertilized by this.  Paralysis is often the end result if we’re never able to move unless we know exactly what will happen next. I think of this one when I hear someone say they can’t join a yoga class because they aren’t flexible enough.  (Hmmm, isn’t that exactly why you need to be doing yoga?)

What I have experienced personally, and with my clients, is that the answers and skills come to us once we get moving!  How often have you been stuck, or struggling to figure something out, and when you decide to take some action, ANY ACTION, the answers come to you?

Ask yourself, what is it costing you to stay still or quiet and not learn?  How would your life be different if you acquired the skills or knowledge that you desire?  When we acknowledge our human-ness by admitting that we do not know – but would like to – we move more intently toward happiness. 






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