“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Frederick Douglass
In order to learn, you need two things.
1) You need to struggle and accept the possibility of failure.
If you’re not failing, you’re not growing. What’s odd is that in many ways it’s the precise opposite of the view that’s supported in most classrooms. From an early age, children are taught that success means having the right answers, and that struggling is a bad sign, the sort of thing you do when you’re not quite “getting it” or the work is too hard. Throughout much of their education, students are encouraged to finish assignments quickly. Those who don’t are sent off to tutors. After 12 years of indoctrination, it’s no wonder that so many of us view failure the way we do: as something to avoid at all cost. In reality, it’s only by stretching ourselves that we develop new skills.
2) You need to feel like you’re making progress.
From Eric Barker:
Focus on small wins. Olympic swimmers use small wins to make it through months of rigorous training. Goals are great, but big ones are abstract, far away and sometimes hard to relate to. And it can take months or years to achieve something big. The secret is small wins. Those little achievements you can see day to day. Anything that went well or worked out. Don’t take that good presentation or minor achievement for granted. That’s progress and paying attention to those can keep you trucking when you’re feeling less than motivated. Teresa Amabile’s research at Harvard backs (this) up. Via The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work: “People’s inner work lives seemed to lift or drag depending on whether or not their projects moved forward, even by small increments. Small wins often had a surprisingly strong positive effect.”
What did you struggle with today? How did you make progress?