I was an average student in my formative years. In some courses I was below average. In others I was above average. But overall, I was average. It wasn’t that I hated school or anything; but nor did I particularly enjoy it. Honestly, back then I liked school more for what it offered me socially than anything else. But then, back in the 70s, kids could approach school that way and still end up doing pretty well for themselves later in life. That is not the case in today’s climate; nor is it the way I’m training my 12 year old to approach his education.
You see I don’t want my kids/grandkids to make the same mistakes I’ve made. Instead, I want them to understand while they are in in middle school, high school, and studying at the undergraduate level that how a person learns impacts every single aspect of life once they pass a certain point.
Some of you might think I’m stretching it a bit to say that. But, one of my favorite writers says it like this.
…there is a vast difference between simply thinking, and directing our thought consciously, systematically, and constructively. -C. Haanel
The days of being able to approach education casually have come and gone. In today’s classrooms, our kids need to know both how to learn and how to approach learning experiences. If they don’t, they are not going to be able to successfully navigate education through to completion of a baccalaureate degree—period.
Consider your responses to these three different situations.
- If an instructor asked you to do a critical analysis of a book they assigned you to read, how would you approach this assignment?
- If your supervisor asked you to do a comparative analysis of two different approaches to a solving a particular problem how would you begin that project?
- When you are faced with the need to change in order to move your life or career forward how to you handle such situations?
Now, number one is clearly about learning. But, did you recognize that items two and three are just a much about how you think and learn?
Prove It For Yourself
I never expect people to take my word for something just because I say it’s true. But, if you watch people long enough, you will see for yourself that people who are confident in their ability to think and learn are more flexible and therefore generally more comfortable with change. Keep watching and you’ll see that a person who is comfortable with change is able to change more quickly than those who are not comfortable with change. And most adults will attest to the fact that people who can embrace and engage in changing more quickly than the masses will benefit from their ability to do so.
If you continue observing and thinking about this you will probably notice that as humans, once we have gone through a few seasons of change successfully, we become even more confident in our ability to handle change. As our confidence in our ability to change increases we become more flexible and begin proactively looking for signs that we need to change so we are prepared beforehand. Being observant in this manner allows us to begin asking and answering questions is a manner that changes the way we navigate change and life in general. Then if we stick to this way of thinking, learning, and changing we begin analyzing our own behavior and tweaking it in a manner that allows us to tailor our approach to navigating change so that we can accomplish even more—faster.
For some of you reading this post, all of this may seem like a major stretch. But for those who are determined to learn, think, and grow in a manner that changes the game for you and those you love, you may be seeing how all of this connects through a new lens. Here’s the same information stated more overtly.
When you become skilled at thinking and learning in a game-changing way you can do the following:
- Analyze and process information effectively and efficiently
- Ask questions based on the gaps and opportunities identified while analyzing
- Collect data points (important information) based on responses to the right questions
- Forecast how things will unfold based on observations, analysis, asking the right questions, etc.
This isn’t some sort of science that only those who have studied the science of thought can understand. It’s really truly the way things work for anyone who cares to begin thinking, learning and living differently. You don’t need anyone’s permission to begin operating in this manner. You simply need to begin paying attention to what’s going on around you; and begin thinking and learning as if the quality of the life you live depends on how you think about what’s playing out in your life. -cd