The Monday Mindset: The Why Behind Why We Should Never Stop Learning New Things

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The further along we progress into our careers, academic accolades, and goal crushing the easier it is to fall back on the assumption that we’ve made it — we’ve learned all we need to know and developed all the skills needed to succeed. It’s easier to focus all of our energy on getting the job done, and assuming everything will take care of itself. Thatcomplacency can be one of our latest mistakes in our never ending learning process.

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In a research study out of Stanford focusing on the struggles of performance, one group was taught to perform better on a task that they performed poorly in. The other group received a completely different intervention: for the task that they performed badly in, they were taught that they weren’t stuck and that improving their performance was a choice. They discovered that learning produces physiological changes in the brain, just like strength and conditioning changes our physiology and muscle “tone”. All they had to do was believe in themselves and make it happen. 

When the groups’ performance was reassessed a few months later, the group that was taught to perform the task better did even worse. The group that was taught that they had the power to change their brains and improve their performance themselves improved dramatically.

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The primary takeaway from the research is that we should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential. 

Still, our time is finite, and we should dedicate ourselves to learning skills that will yield the greatest benefit. There are skills that I believe never stop paying dividends, and through the following weeks I’ll be sharing my thoughts on skills that deliver the largest payoff — in what they teach us and their tendency to keep the learning alive. 

For today, lets remember that the act of learning is every bit as important as what you learn. Believing that you can improve yourself and do things in the future that are beyond your current possibilities is exciting and fulfilling.

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