Leave your ego at the door

Ego can be a crippling thing.

Behind our ego lies a subtle intelligence; one, that, if sensing we are likely to fail at something, quietly offers up rationalisation for why we shouldn’t even try. It guarantees that we never fail by not letting us attempt in the first place.

Paying less attention to the voice of the ego is the first step in putting ourselves on a path to greater learning. When I became more and more content with being able to try and fail, I began to improve my ability to acquire new skills at an ever-increasing rate.

Children are the best example of effortless learning; and the reason they learn so quickly and without apparent effort is because they are simply more okay with failure than are most adults. As children grow up and turn into teenagers and adults, they generally become more and more self-conscious; and this is precisely when they become far less willing to take risks.

Risk-taking is absolutely necessary for growth, discovery, learning and understanding. One of the most important functions of a teacher is to create an environment wherein students are comfortable with risk-taking.



Anonymous said…
I really enjoy your posts, thanks! I have a couple of notes:
1) This one in particular is doubled, I guess you just accidentally pasted twice.
2) It would be easier to read with line breaks
Thanks for the wise words!
JBW said…
Thanks for the comments. Noted. I will see if I can work out line breaks - blogger doesn't seem to let me do that.
Thanks though ... JBW
Anonymous said…
This is so true, as a high school teacher, I see so many students thwarted in their attempts at progressing in their studies, and life in general, due to an over inflated ego that makes it impossible for them to accept failure, or even minor mistakes. Nicely said John.
JBW said…
Thank you - clearly, you understand that making mistakes is exactly how we learn. When I think about it - I spent a lot of my own life 'shackled' by this same constraint - it's only when I began to realise that my life was a 'finite' game - that I began to place less value on 'getting things right every single time'. Now - I want 'joy - fulfilment-adventure' over things like '100% on my score-card'. We all tend to keep 'score' to a degree, we tend to judge ourselves harshly - when in truth, no-one cares about our performance nearly as much as we think they do. People have their own stuff to think about ...

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