This Guest paper was submitted for publication 8/14/13 and is copyright to author Chris Majer, © 2013.
These observations are abstracted from the author's book The Power to Transform and published here February 2014

Editor's Note | Introduction | Knowing but Impatient
Craving for Understanding but Reluctance to Begin | Blindness and Confusion
Mind/body Learning and Comfort | Constant Assessment but Independently
Novelty and Characterization | Summary

Constant Assessment but Independently

Assessment and evaluation
We live in a state of constant assessment. For example, you are exposed to something new. Your mind's first response is to assess or judge it. The most common and basic assessments are: "I like/don't like this" or "I agree/disagree with this". These simple, automatic assessments close down the possibilities for authentic learning.

If I like something, then I tend to quit listening as my mind moves quickly from liking to knowing: "I like this because it is like X, and I know X is true." Similarly, if I don't like something, then the mind tunes it out: "I don't like this, therefore it must be wrong; if it is wrong, then there is no reason to pay attention." The same thing takes place with agreeing and disagreeing.

Either assessment tranquilizes us into closing down the possibility that there is anything new to learn. If I agree, then there is no reason to keep paying attention, because I know what she is saying to be true. If I disagree, then there is no reason to stay engaged, as this guy is obviously an idiot, and who needs to listen to an idiot?

Independent learning
Sometimes we believe that we can or should learn on our own. This is dangerous for a number of reasons. First, it is too easy to fall prey to ungrounded assessments about how we are doing and delude ourselves into thinking that we are making great progress or that we really suck when neither is the case. In addition, the reason that we typically attempt to learn on our own is that we are embarrassed to be a beginner in public.

This too is a big mistake. Authentic, sustained learning is an inherently social process. We learn best and most easily in a community of committed learners. You get maximum benefit by learning with some friends or partners. If you create your own learning community, you are likely to have the most success. Learning is much easier with a committed team, a community of learners who share the same ambition and commitment.

Mind/body Learning and Comfort  Mind/body Learning and Comfort

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