The Two Kinds of Learning
There’s two kinds of learning, conscious and unconscious.
Both are required for full understanding.
When we were kids, all learning was unconscious. Stuff like walking, talking, using certain tools and toys. We just had a certain unspoken desire, and we tried stuff until it worked.
We didn’t need to consciously plan or think as we had the deep programming to drive us forward.
We learned by copying. We saw somebody doing something, we got a deep desire to do the same thing, and we kept trying all kinds of different stuff until we got it right.
We had ZERO concept of failure. Only getting closer.
Imagine having this attitude when learning something requiring plenty of conscious thought, like Calculus or something.
You start the class not knowing squat, you do your best to study. The first test comes back, and you get 50 out of 100.
What do you think?
“Sweet! I’m halfway there!”
For some reason, when we learn things consciously, we lose our “explorer” mindset. We lose the ability to judge whether or not we are getting closer, and replace that by judging whether or not we are all the way there.
So instead of feeling good about ourselves the entire journey, we feel like failures unless we get it a hundred percent right.
Naturally, this can lead to giving up halfway there. Imagine if you gave up learning to walk when you could only take three steps before falling on your face!
“I’m not very good at walking! I quit!”
The thing to understand here is we had to LEARN to feel like a failure. We had to LEARN that NOT getting one hundred percent correct was WRONG.
Now, as an adult there ARE some things that require this attitude. If you decided to drive down to the burrito restaurant, and crashed into a tree halfway there, it’s GOOD to feel like you did something wrong.
Otherwise the roads would be littered with wrecked cars.
The crucial skill of being an adult is knowing WHICH situation requires WHICH mindset.
The pass / fail mindset (like driving to the burrito store) or the LEARNING mindset (like learning ANY kind of useful or profitable skill).
The good news is it’s pretty easy to tell the difference. So long as you’re not going to break anything, hurt anybody or lose a significant amount of money, you can take your time learning, and just keep getting better and better.
Remember we have to unlearn to make room for learning. Yes, this will require patience, time, and commitment. Why rush the process. Easy does it.