What makes learning something new either easy or frustrating
Learning anything new can either be incredibly exciting or really frustrating depending on how you approach it . . .
As kids we learn very easily because we have beginners mind and less of an ego. When you were learning how to walk and talk, you weren’t concerned with making mistakes or keeping up with the other kids. But then as you got older, learning may have become more difficult. Maybe you were told you weren’t smart. Or compared yourself to how quickly others learned. Or put tons of pressure on yourself to learn fast and be the best.
The older we get the more difficult learning becomes. And it has zero to do with age and 100% to do with how we approach learning. I had a personal epiphany about this on the ski slopes in Utah this past weekend.
I have not skied in over a decade and haven’t had a lesson since I was eight. So when I got back on the slopes, I reverted back to what I knew. And I was skiing but my feet hurt, I was scared and not really enjoying myself. When my friend asked me if I’d like some tips, I’ll admit there was a part of me that wanted to pretend I was fine and had it all together. Thankfully the part of me that really wanted to have a better experience skiing said, “YES!”
As she started teaching me, I internally committed to letting go of everything I knew about skiing up until this point because it obviously was not creating the results I wanted. Even though the first tip she gave me seemed totally foreign, I took it on without question. I focused 100% on practicing what she taught me. Not only did it immediately shift my skiing, it also relieved me of any anxiety since I was entirely focused on what I was learning. She cheered for me and then taught me the next thing. Once again, I focused and practiced. Then one more tip. And I focused and practiced. Ten minutes later we were on blue (intermediate) runs. An hour later I was confident on blues and having the time of my life.
My friend (who has also been to one of my retreats) said to me on the last lift, “I see why you are a good teacher, you are a good learner.” That really touched me both because of the acknowledgement and because it reinforced the value of my learning oriented approach to life.
Some key take-aways from this story:
• When someone offers to teach you something, do not let your ego get in the way of receiving support. Say yes. Ask questions. Pay attention and listen to what they are saying. Get feedback. Be a good student by taking on what is being taught rather than coming up with reasons why you can’t learn or why it won’t work for you.
• Adopt a beginner’s mindset. Stop being a know-it-all. You know who are often the hardest people to coach? Coaches or people who have done a ton of personal growth work and think they know everything. Be willing to drop what you know and open up to what you don’t know you don’t know! @christinhassler (Tweet this!)
• Instead of pushing yourself to do something or to prove something, focus on learning instead. When we are obsessed with the result or getting somewhere, we speed up and do not take the time to really integrate what we are learning. Slow down and bring 100% of your focus to the lesson at hand.
• Celebrate!! When babies take their first step and then fall right over, their parents hoot and holler just because they took a step. Acknowledge yourself along the way. Each little step is a victory so take pride in it!
What are you learning? Where can you adopt a beginners mind? Please comment below!