There are people who think of life as a sort of competition, and learning as a path to maximizing performance, getting an edge, and winning whatever prize they imagine is waiting for them. I’ve always found that mindset too intense (and more than a bit misguided), and have tried to steer away from it on Mission to Learn.
Still, there’s no point in denying that if you adopt a true learning mindset and embrace the habits and practices to support it, you will gain an edge over most people (including past versions of yourself). That’s because most people won’t. Specifically, most people won’t:
Make themselves truly available for learning, approaching life with an open, receptive mind, as free from bias as possible and fully aware of the learning opportunities that continually arise.
Believe in their own ability to learn, grow, and develop.
Question and probe when their curiosity is sparked or when what they experience is not making sense.
Intentionally connect with others to cultivate relationships that challenge them and create opportunities for teaching and learning.
Have the courage to take risks that are so often necessary for significant learning to occur.
Have the patience and self-compassion that will empower then to persist and persevere when progress is not obvious and the chances of success are in doubt.
Embrace the lifestyle habits – a well-informed diet, regular exercise, and high-quality sleep – that are so essential for a healthy brain and mind to support effective learning.
Understand and consistently make use of research-based practices that lead to effective learning.
Most people don’t do these things now, and as much as it pains me to say it, my experience so far in life suggests that most people won’t ever. (Though, of course, my hope is that Mission to Learn converts at least a few people from “won’t” to “will.”)
So, if you do them, you will undoubtedly gain an edge. More importantly, you will put yourself on a path to live life fully, well, and wisely – which is what the mission to learn is all about.
Today’s a great day to get started (or recommit).
I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.