The Way We’ve Always Done It

Ever watch a child learn how to walk, or really learn how to do almost anything?  It takes days and days of repetitive attempts. Each day mostly consisting of failure but slowly they show progress.  More attempts and soon they’re walking, then running, then jumping, then dancing. We don’t learn to walk by accepting that crawling gets us there and it’s the way we’ve always done it. We learn by challenging ourselves to do something we don’t know how to do, even if it means trying over and over again until we learn how to do it.

Sure, walking beats crawling and so we were sufficiently motivated to change, but as adults, we don’t always see clearly the benefits that might come from learning a new way of doing something. We may not even believe it’s possible, so we get stuck in the rut of doing things the way we’ve always done them  We know it will work. We know how long it will take. We don’t have to think about it.

And there in lies the rub, our brains resist having to learn new things.  In school we had no choice.  As adults our brains would rather not study something new but enjoy the comfort of the way we already know. As children, curiosity drove us to challenge our brains and abilities.  It pushed us to wonder what we could do.  As adults we rationalize away all the reasons we can’t learn something new now, we’re busy and isn’t the old way good enough?  Yet, the more we enjoy the old way the harder and harder we find it to fight the resistance of the new.  We must choose the challenge of learning if we hope to get better at learning.  If we don’t, it gets harder and harder. So stop rationalizing, fight through the resistance, and discover the excitement of the new way of doing something.

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