I enjoy learning new things. In fact, that’s a major factor in how I spend my time. It impacts all kinds of decisions.
But still, it’s a struggle. I talked about this a couple of weeks ago, but I thought I’d expand on a couple of ideas.
The first is that learning gives you value. If you know more tomorrow than you did yesterday, if you have more skill, then you will be more valuable to others in the future. But I also happen to believe that “value to others” is overrated, that many things should be undertaken because they help you progress on your personal journey. Learning is the way you take steps on that journey.
The idea of value in learning seems obvious, and it is, but I see so many ingrained behaviors which ignore it. We value doing, and the learning itself can be seen as an impediment to “getting on with it,” getting to the point where you can deliver. I’ve even seen cases where our behavior says that it’s more important to do something poorly than to spend the same time learning how to do it right. We value expediency over proficiency.
The second idea is that learning is active. Especially in adults, the rate of learning by “having the information wash over you” is much lower than when you’re engaged with the new content. That might look like active discussion, or problem solving, or trial and error. Gaming is a fantastic example, because it provides a safe environment for testing out what you’re learning, with very quick feedback. That’s one of the elements which makes it fun rather than work.
Other learning environments can be fun as well. For me, one of the most remarkable is to have great discussions of exploration with others who are passionate about the same topic I am. They teach me new ways of thinking, while valuing my point of view, and together we make much more progress than any individual could have.
Some of my richest areas of learning have come from those experiences. And fun as well.