Biggest Obstacle to learning something new

Our biggest obstacle to learning something new is trying to make it agree with what is already in our head.

You are not to blame. The schooling you’ve had has expected you to learn something new and regurgitate it for a test. At work you’re expected to have answers. Learn something new and come up with a solution, a decision, a policy, a new way.

So, we apply that sort of thinking to things that relate to ourselves. When we hear something, a truism, a fact, a piece of knowledge, call it what you will, we expect to apply it right away if it’s in fact a TRUTH!

But Truths that can cause a Fundamental change within us humans, don’t work that way. The first time we are exposed to something, we may not even understand it.

So, we do one of two things:
1) We reject it as nonsense
2) We don’t understand it so we don’t give it any more thought.

But there’s a third scenario. And that is We Park the idea as potentially something to look at. We tell ourselves that we don’t understand it and that it’s okay to say “Well, I don’t know”.

Practice it. The next time your boss asks you something, say: “I don’t know!”
When he says: “When will you know?”, say “I don’t know”. Imagine how far that conversation will go!

The more we get used to admitting to ourselves (and others) that we don’t know something, the faster we open ourselves to the possibility of learning it.

The issue is… if you try and take a new concept and fit it in with old paradigms, old concepts you have floating around in your head, it might butt up against them. But that is what growth is about! It’s about shedding some old ideas in favour of new ones. And the New ideas sometimes won’t fit in with the old ideas. It’s like fitting a circular piece into a blockwork of square pieces. It just won’t fit! Sometimes in order to accept a New idea, it might mean you have to throw away several old ideas. This is not easy. It takes time. How long it takes is dependent on how much resistance we feel to shed some of these old ideas.

I remember holding onto something my father had taught me when I was a child, guarding that thought with my heart and soul. When I heard something contrary to the old teaching, I struggled with it. Because to accept the New teaching meant rejecting the old teaching – meant my father was wrong! But my father who loves me, who wants the best for me…he wouldn’t deliberately teach me something that is incorrect, that is wrong. My father knows best. How can he be wrong? Or if he knew but deliberately mislead me, that must mean he doesn’t love me, and that I know is not the case. Therefore, the New teaching is wrong!

Years later, I found out my Father is Human! I now know something he didn’t or doesn’t!


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