Have you ever noticed how quickly a baby learns? It’s phenomenal, especially when considering how long it takes to learn something new as an adult. How come babies learn so quickly? Here are two possibilities. 1) Everything is new to babies. 2) Babies don’t look at the world through the filter of previous experience.
Try to remember a time when you learned something important. What were you doing and how did you feel just prior to the “big aha?” It’s likely you were doing something new and challenging when you made your discovery.
If you want to learn as quickly as a baby learns, put yourself in a baby’s environment. Find a place where you’re not the expert. Put yourself in situations where you don’t know the language, don’t know the rules, haven’t created any filters, and can’t seem to do anything right. In this type of environment, learning will come quickly and easily. You’ll have no choice.
Need ideas? Take a trip to a foreign country. Wander on down to visit with the folks in IT. The Legal Department might provide a similar experience. For me, a trip to the fabric store with my wife would provide a sufficient challenge. It’s all about getting uncomfortable. If you can’t think of where that might occur, just start wandering aimlessly. You’ll know it when you feel it. Then you just need to stop, experience, and starting learning.