Do you make these mistakes in learning?
“I want pay increase!” I was asking for some pay increment. The statement is not that direct, but I did request that from my boss. I am confident enough on the experience that I have gained from the past one year on my previous job. I have also taken few IT certifications that I thought will give me the right to get the increment. I have learned a lot… so I believed I am eligible for that.
I was wrong…
Yes, I was wrong. My request was rejected. Or rather, it was postponed for further evaluation. I have told the story before that the process taught me about patience. But more than that, the process taught me about learning.
This blog has shared a lot about being teachable, to learn and to have an open-mind attitude. It is important topic to talk about. Each of us has to be a learner throughout our life. Learning is like climbing the stairs. Learning allows you to go to the top, to see and to know more things. But unfortunately, some made mistakes with learning, they forgot that it’s the means rather than the destination. Those are the lies of learning that are able to endanger you.
And those are the mindset that I wanted to share in this article…
1) Learning for money
I was wrong when I valued my contribution based on the knowledge that I gained, and I asked for the pay increase for that. Learning is useful, but the money you earned based on the value that you bring out, the results you produce. “Eternal student” is one of the counterfeits of learning that Stephen M. R. Covey shared in his book, The Speed of Trust. It is the person who is always learning but never producing. Being an “eternal student” and even more asking for more money just because you learn is just not appropriate.
This is particularly one reason why my request above is rejected. My boss would like to evaluate me on the values that I bring to the company, and those are the ones that will determine whether they will meet my request or not. I was given a leadership opportunity and I was asked to manage a product development to deliver them on schedule. And from that opportunity I got to learn the second misconception on learning from my manager.
Resource: Scott H. Young shared an article, Don’t Pay Yourself by the Hour. It shared with you the mindset why you should consider yourself being paid for your results and not hours. It doesn’t matter whether you are salaried employees, salesmen or businessmen and women. Whoever we are, we can start having a mindset of result-driven attitude. It’s not based on the hour we work, neither the amount of knowledge we have. Our earning should reflect our value that we bring to people.
2) Learning for satisfaction
While the challenge is given to me, I was being warned on the big responsibility that I will have. It was just like I own my own company. I have the project in my hand, I have to solve any problems that may come out and I need to deliver on time. I was quite worried. It was my first experience and I would be evaluated based on that performance to get my pay increase.
As my request was rejected, I asked for a sponsored class to learn more about project management. I told them that it’s necessary to equip me with some knowledge that will be helpful for the responsibility. I was quite relentless on the subject and I told my manager that it’s really what I needed. I told him that it was important for the evaluation I have to go through the next 3 months and I did not want to fail.
It’s the point when my manager asked me back, “Are you the last kid in the family?” He was wrong, I am the only son in the family, but he was right in one point; that I used to be a spoiled kid.
The “spoiled kid” symptom
I’m really surprised when he asked me back that question. But I learned something important that day, that unconsciously I desired the opportunity of learning for my own satisfaction. It was the habit of laying back to the lie that I have to learn and to know something very well before I am willing to do it.
Do you often experience that as well? It is the lie that we have to be perfect, that we have to know the right way, and we better not making mistakes. It’s also the excuse we made to keep on preparing and learning while what we need sometimes is just doing it.
Rich people see an opportunity, jump on it, and get even richer. As for poor people? They’re still “preparing”!
~T. Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind)
Resource: An article from Evan Hadkins, How to Deal with Your Perfectionism. One statement from the article, “Dealing with perfectionism means dealing with our dissatisfaction.” Sometimes, our desire to learn is particularly only to fulfill our own satisfaction. You need to be aware of this lie in learning.
3) Learning for judgment
I have just finished reading the book that has become very popular in blogosphere for quite some time. It’s the Getting Things Done by David Allen. One particular insight that surprised me is the fact that many bright people are procrastinators. I found that it is very true. Those are the most creative, sensitive and intelligent people, yet their knowledge have become the boomerang that hurt them back.
Because their sensitivity gives them the capability of producing in their minds lurid nightmare scenarios about what might be involved in doing the project, and all the negative consequences that might occur if it weren’t done perfectly! They just freak out in an instant and quit!
~David Allen (Getting Things Done)
Knowledge is both helpful and dangerous for creativity. Creativity needs knowledge, yet too much knowledge will kill creativity as well. That is one particular trap of learning.
Do you lose your baby-hood?
My previous article, How failures can make you smile got an interesting comment from Mary Jaksch at Goodlife Zen. She shared that our sensitivity has made us afraid to go to the edge and make some action. And her statement here is very interesting… “Babies know that well, but we forget.”
We have forgotten our baby-hood because it was cluttered with all the knowledge that makes us very sensitive and afraid to make actions. As kids, we dare to dream big things, but is it still the same when we are adults?
Resource: An article from Jonathan Mead, sharing that knowledge has become a double edged sword. “The power or knowledge is the power of judgment. Its power is also its weakness.” Part of us will play the role as judge, while the other as victim. Jonathan continued to share on how we can tame the beast of knowledge in the next article in the series… The Biggest Lie; the Lie of Our Imperfection.
4) Learning for justification
The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but only have one course of action.
This is the observation that Stephen M. R. Covey made while he mentioned about another counterfeits of learning. It shows that how often we learned but we do not change our value and action. In his word, “it’s trying to force-fit everything into whatever you’re good at doing.”
Learning can be a trap if we learn only to justify the mindset that we already have. It’s a great way to justify our “laziness” to change. It’s the time when we pick up selective lessons. We take one side, and act as if the other side of the story does not exist. That’s the symptom where you start learning only to justify your behavior.
Resource: Another thoughtful article from Scott H. Young, The Value of Independence, sharing the trip that we need to take in learning. That is building our intellectual independence through poverty. Sometimes, we just need to start afresh before we learn. Quoted from the article…
Intellectual independence requires a similar trip through poverty. Instead of giving up finances or friends, you give up knowledge. Intellectual independence means temporarily putting yourself in a position of doubt. You become agnostic about almost everything as you re-evaluate your beliefs.
~Scott H. Young
The real learning
Learning is great! We all need that, but learning is only part of the equation. What is the purpose after learning? What we have to produce and work on in our life after learning? What is the next action afterwards? And more importantly, what are the changes that we need to make after learning?
These are the two components what real learning comprises of…
What we really needed is our confidence to the truth that we believe in, not our judgmental opinion in our head. This confidence also signifies courage not to be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Because if we are afraid of failing, means that we are afraid to live.
There is a particular quote I read from Young Urban Professional, sharing a quote about a person who advances confidently in the direction of his dreams.
In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
~Henry David Thoreau (quoted in A Leader Becomes a Leader)
What amazes me from the quote is that simplicity matters. And we do not have to believe the lie of our weakness and imperfection.
Intelligence doesn’t mean anything if we are not willing to do it.
In making decisions of a spiritual nature, the battlefield is not the intellect, but the will.
~Dwight Hill (Facts of the Matter)
I think it’s not only true on our spiritual nature, our everyday lives is the battle of the will. The will also signifies the discipline that we have to take, habit that we have to form to apply what we have learned in our everyday lives.
The last resource I’d like to share is an audio Podcast from Mwangi from The Displaced African titled Stop Reading and Thinking! Do Something Instead.
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For your success,