Last weekend I learned how to juggle. I have never had a desire to juggle. The few times I’ve tried were frustrating so I learned other party tricks like how to balance a spoon on my nose (seriously).
Yet at a recent leadership training I attended, opting out of juggling was not an option because each of us were required to perform this trick in front of the entire group. Even more valuable than learning how to juggle was discovering my “enemies to learning”.
At some point you had to learn everything you know how to do – including reading, which you are doing right now without thinking about it. We are all born learners, but are not necessarily always the best students because of our enemies to learning.
These enemies are the excuses, justifications, and beliefs that arise when faced with having to learn something new. Instead of diving into a learning opportunity with childlike curiosity, our enemies activate our ego, coming up with plenty of “safer” options so we can avoid the uncomfortableness, fear, and possible self-judgment that may come about from embarking into uncharted territory.
What are your enemies to learning?
Some common ones include:
- Thinking you are not smart enough, coordinated enough, or capable enough in some way
- Making it unimportant, demeaning or trivializing the activity
- Waiting for someone else to make it easier for you
- Not asking for help when you do not understand something
- Allowing yourself to get distracted
- Putting either too much or not enough pressure on yourself
- Fear of failure or embarrassment
The best way to fight your enemies to learning and win is to be willing to act like a kid! If you are willing to learn and engage fully in the process instead of being concerned with the result in any way, the part of your brain that is a natural student takes over.
When you were little, learning was fun because you were not judging yourself or the process. I was able to bust through my major enemy to learning juggling, which was to trivialize it, by pretending I was five years old and approaching the exercise with childlike curiosity. This was a huge breakthrough and led to a stellar performance. I’m so proud of my new juggling skills that I show it off in the vlog so be sure to watch!
My homework for you this week is to become aware of your enemies to learning and fight them!! Consider something that you are willing to learn. Perhaps it’s a new dance move, a computer program or hobby and allow your inner 5-year-old to play!