What are your barriers to learning?

By August 23, 2013Learnings

You’ve determined that you want to do things differently, you’ve gone to a course, read a book, you may have even tried out some new practices and yet you don’t seem able to make the changes stick.

Have you considered what might be your barriers to learning? What attitude or expectation are you bringing to the learning opportunity?

Lack of Focus
Not being Present – you multi-task, you are addicted to your smartphone or you are rehearsing responses or smart quips in your head during the training
Compare and Contrast – you are too busy focusing on what you already know or finding holes in the theory

Don’t grant authority to the teacher – you are cynical and not open to new ideas and experimenting
I already know it – “been there, done that, got the T-Shirt” rather than being open to a different way of approaching the issue
Not enough practice –  or you give up too soon, excellence requires many hours of repetition cf. Gladwell’s the “10,000- Hour rule”
Lack of  Self-Compassion – you are not patient with your progress, you beat yourself up for making mistakes, you focus on the 20% you got wrong rather than the 80% you got right

Gravitas –  you need to be the expert and don’t approach the issue with childlike wonder
Looking Good – you are too embarrassed to try things out in case it doesn’t work or you look incompetent
Inability to be Vulnerable – you’re the boss you can’t be seen not to have all the answers, you must be on top of it all
Extreme Self-Sufficiency – you don’t allow others to help you, you need to do it all
Perfectionist – you are risk averse and hesitant to try things out in case you fail

Over-reliance on your intellectual faculties
Desire for clarity always – you need to know and are very uncomfortable with uncertainty
Lack of awareness of body and emotion – you don’t adjust your mood and physical orientation to being curious
You talk about or read about – without actually experiencing the new behaviour or practice

Are any of these getting in your way? Any other things you’ve observed in yourself or others that prevent them from becoming more effective learners?

Outliers (2009) Malcolm Gladwell
Bounce (2011) Matthew Syed
The Leadership Dojo (2007) Richard Strozzi-Heckler

I invite you to reply to me below or call me to discuss on UK +44 (0) 20 7226 3611 or +44 (0) 7952 068133

Image source: By Marcus Wong Wongm (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Join the discussion One Comment

  • Rebecca Chesworth says:

    I read Sylvana’s list of potential barriers to learning ahead of a seminar on leadership that she was giving. The list prompted me to be open to the experience and remain present during the learning event, with the result that I was much more engaged and able to gain more. Thank you

Leave a Reply