Friday, March 8, 2013

The 3 Choices Of Learning

Cover of "Mastery: The Keys to Success an...
Cover via Amazon
by Tony Pfeiffer

George Leonard in his book Mastery speaks of three approaches to learning and practicing. He defines them as:

  • Dabbler: Loves everything that is new about learning; new equipment, new language,etc. Likes to see immediate progress and when the first plateau comes, usually moves on to something new.

  • Obsessive: All about results. The bottom line on everything. The plateau makes this person double the efforts to gain more and more results.

  • Hacker: Gets the hang of the learning and then settles into the plateau indefinitely with no attempt to improve. Becomes comfortable right where he is.

How a Dabbler Learns

At the first spurt of progress the Dabbler is overjoyed and demonstrates the new skill to everyone. Enthusiasm wanes at the first plateau. It is unacceptable. The classes or lessons are skipped and there is always a rationalization for why. It is too competitive, too boring, too whatever.

He tells himself and everyone else that this doesn't fulfill his unique needs. Starting something new gives the Dabbler the same energy of doing something new again.

How Can a Dabbler Change the Dabbling Ways?

Let's assume you have a growth mindset which states you believe that you can change yourself. A fixed mindset doesn't bother since it believes that change isn't possible. But that's not you. You choose change and are willing to build a new habit.

The habit to build first is what is called a "keystone habit". It is a fundamental habit that lays a foundation for changing and developing habits. The keystone habit is doing what matters most. It is the small wins along the way that create widespread change.

For example, the military trains young men and women on how to march together. Marching has nothing to do with fighting a war. Yet learning how to march together opens the way for the new soldiers to build the necessary habits for combat.

The Keystone Habit to Change the Dabbler

Anticipate and accept that the initial progress that excites you won't last. Your progress will stall and you will reach a plateau where no progress happens for now. Treat each plateau as an adventure and a new opportunity to learn. The plateau you are on is the next step to progress. Practice diligently daily even when there is no outward improvement. Learn to love the plateau.

The Dabbler, Hacker and Compulsive learners remain stuck where they are. They never move forward to mastery; the life-long pursuit and practice of a skill. To change the Dabbler in you, began to love the plateau. The plateau lets you know that you have made progress and that you will make more again. The key and the challenge is practice anyway. Practice does make progress.

To daily pursue mastery in learning and parenting begin the practice of 10 MINUTE LEARNING EVERYDAY! Learning principles and common sense practices that lay a foundation for learning and fuel it for life for you and your children.

Together we are changing the conversation and the yardstick of learning, one family at a time.

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