“Learning never exhausts the mind” – Leonardo Da Vinci

By Lorraine Morris

Two weeks back we unpacked the conversation of learning, unlearning, and relearning”, I thought I should focus more on creating that learning mindset this week.

Over the past few months, I have been intentionally learning a musical instrument for the very first time in my life. This has been with mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety to say the least.

Because this is a huge shift, I have questioned myself and have had doubts on whether this is the right thing for me to be doing and have even caught myself saying “I am not artistic”, “I don’t have the skills”, “I’m just making a noise”, “Give up already, just listen to those who play this right”.

I have also felt myself perspire even more as I try the notes repeatedly.

 

 

 

To top it all off, when I shared a piece of the music with a friend in my first few days of playing they said all they could hear was “dhongi, mombe, mbudzi”, if I was an individual inclined to a fixed mindset at that point I would have called it quits but instead we both had a laugh.

Fast forward some weeks after, I have experienced the sound coming together, and my fingers play faster and right there and there I have been able to say “I’m getting better”, “3 months ago this was just a dream, but here I am developing a musical skill”.

I am reminded of Herclitus quote which says “The only thing that is constant is change”, so with each step that I am taking to learn this new skill a change is taking place in my whole being and my mind is enjoying creating new connections (p.s. this is another insight into the brain).

All of us are experiencing many changes, be it to our careers, school life, personal life, communities, societies and organisations. The one thing that can enable us to effectively manage these changes is learning.

I recently watched a Ted Talk Video by Eduardo Briceño that I would like to share with you. The talk was on what he called the “learning zone” and “performance zone”.

I want you to take a moment to think about a current change you are experiencing:
Do you feel trapped even though you are working harder and longer since the new way of working and living began?

 

 

Do you feel as though your efforts are not getting you the results you want?
Do you feel you are not improving as fast as you should or prefer?
If you answered yes to any of these, then read on to how understanding the difference between “performing zone” and “learning zone” can help you.
There are things that you have been able to do effortlessly to date where you would possibly use a phrase such as “Zviri muropa mangu”, because its where you apply your known skills and expertise so you ensure that their a minimal mistakes that take place to ensure that you achieve your best results, that is in essence the “Performance Zone”, lets even call it the exam room, where you perform and perform optimally, you do and do things over and over again. In this zone you feel so confident, engaged and very optimistic.

Bringing it closer to home and if you are a football fan, its where the current reigning champions FC Platinum Stars, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City are in their various leagues.

The challenge, however, that society tends to face in life though, is that when we reach the performance peak we may stop practicing, improving, reflecting or following activities designed to improve us and so when things suddenly change and you have not invested in learning that is when we begin to feel stuck, exhausted, irritable, defensive, burnt out as is currently being faced by many and you may even feel as though you are no longer making much of an impact.

 

So what Eduardo Briceño suggests is that we take the time to continuously alternate between the two zones of learning and performing.

When we speak of the “learning zone”, it’s in essence the class room that you attend in preparation for those final exams, its where you spend time practicing, experimenting, improving, developing, reflecting and growing in different areas in your life or business.

The truth is people and organisations tend to not want to focus on this zone because in their minds it may not be intrinsically or extrinsically beneficial, but who knows that could be where their next dollar comes from or their next lease of motivation.

Realistically speaking, we know for certain that the teams I mentioned above and all the others do take time weekly to practice, to reflect and to see what they can do differently the next time that they play.

Someone might say but who can really catch Manchester City right now on the league, they have already won? Who knows if they don’t take time to really practice and experiment the game could go differently so there is really no time to rest but rather to keep practicing.

 

At the start of this article, I shared my current learning zone, each day until my first “exam” opportunity I am setting aside 1 hour to deliberately practice, grow, develop, improve, get sweaty and gain more confidence. The more I do this the closer I will get to that goal of playing for an audience. I promise I will keep you posted.

So, the question I leave with you today is, what are you going to do differently to ensure that you do not spend your time “doing, doing” but where you deliberately make time to be in the learning zone where you will be able to develop personal mastery in an area that you care about?

Have a good week ahead, remember you can change only if you want to!

 

Here are a few tips on how to do this:

Remember daily that you can improve
Set a goal for why you want to improve
Set time aside work on your goal
Mistakes happen in this zone so ensure you practice in a low stake environment
Have a good week ahead, remember you can change only if you want to!

 

 

Lorraine Morris is co-founder Musikana Foundation – musikanafoundation@gmail.com Instagram @musikanafoundation. Revive and Thrive Hub – info@reviveandhtrivehub.com Instagram @reviveandthrive_summits

 

 

 

 

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