Four Types of Learners

The majority of anything is showing up. And we’re not just talking about being there physically. If you want to make being somewhere to learn count, it’s even more essential that you are present mentally.

I look at four main ways that people show up, especially to take a class and learn. The four thought patterns are:

  1. I’m here, but I can’t do it, so I’m just going to end up failing.
  2. I’m here, and I’ll play along, but things are rigged so I can’t pass and will have to retake the class.
  3. I’m here, and I may not get everything, but I’m going to pay attention and do my best.
  4. Lead, follow or move over because I know everything and am only here to check a box.

In case number one, the person is there physically, yet they’re not going to try anything, and have already made up their mind that they are unable to learn. In this case, these people are writing their own destiny. And their writing does not bode well for them or anyone who needs to count on them.

In case number two, the person will try to learn and will give a halfhearted attempt, but other thoughts are on their mind. Their mind is awash with many ideas, and they are not concentrating. The fact is they may try, but real learning is not in there for them today.

Number three is concentrating. Will work hard. Will not take losing personally. And will strive to learn. This person has a much better chance of learning than the first two students. With everything being equal number three is a good student and will have a good shot at learning the information.

Everyone has an ego of one kind or another.  Number four has a huge ego. And unfortunately, the overconfidence of number four will cause a great block to actually learning something new.  We used to call this the John Wayne effect. This type of person actually believes that he or she knows it all, and cannot fail, and anybody who’s not getting behind him or her is lost anyway. It will typically take a significant failure for this person to see the errors of their ways and make a change.

I can say this based on observations of the last 40 years in training, studying behavioral psychology and motivational techniques, and much scrutiny.  I do not encourage you to take my word for this.  I suggest you sit back and observe for yourself, and see if this idea on learners seems to hold truths or not.

These are just the observations of an old Master Sargent who knows that he does not know it all.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Believe In Your Work

If you’re going to do anything, you have to believe. You have to trust that you can learn to accomplish what you set out to do. You have to think it’s all right to make a mistake, or two, or three, or a dozen times, or even a gross of times. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “If you haven’t made a mistake you’ve never tried anything new.” All of this starts with someone believing in possibilities.

If you really, honestly, truly believe you can, then no one can stop you. If you really, honestly, think that you cannot, then you’re probably right. If it has to be done and you have no faith in your ability, then possibly you should turn the project over to someone who believes they can.

It is okay to be nervous, or scared, or panicky as you try something new. This is part of being human. And despite your best efforts, you have to realize that the first time you do, it will not be the apex of your creative goals. There will be lows and highs, setbacks and insights, failures and breakthroughs. Exactly how many times did Thomas Edison test different elements for the lightbulb? I am not sure, but the number 76 seems to stick in my mind.

If you are interested enough to do the work to get it right, you will eventually succeed. Just never give up trying. Never let others talk you out of your successes because of their lack of faith. Keep your faith and keep it close to you.

Realize what success will do for you, and realize what the success of your project can do to positively affect others. Never give up, never given, and never give out. Stay your course of what you know is right and always push towards the next goal.

I know you’re busy right now, and I don’t want to beat this point to death. If you pass a mirror along your way and see your reflection, tell yourself you are doing well and yes you will be okay.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.