31 Jul Learning Nimbly
Our next discovery along the EQ spectrum is Learning Nimbly. The ability to be a nimble learner is a direct result of a growth mindset. In a world where the only constant is change, and the pace of that change continues to increase, being able to adapt, learn and grow has become one of the most important keys to success. While most of us are pretty good at doing things we’ve done before, it takes a more rare set of skills to do something for the first time – to solve new problems, try new things, to learn quickly in new situations.
“Becoming is better than being” — Carol Dweck
What do We Mean by Learning Nimbly?
To be “nimble” means to be quick, light and agile. When applied to learning, this means being able to adapt, pivot, adjust one’s approach, pick up on clues, think on one’s feet, experiment, take risks, and view every experience – success and failure – as a learning opportunity.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” — John C. Maxwell
Hannah provides strategies for nimble learning.
Benefits of Nimble Learning
Individuals and organizations that learn nimbly have a competitive advantage. They enjoy many benefits as a result of their growth mindset.
- Grit: they don’t shrink from a challenge but realize that effort is what ignites the ability to succeed, no matter what that ability is to start (C. Dweck).
- Growth: they are always growing, because they recognize that learning is more important than winning or proving how smart or successful they are.
- Innovation: they stay ahead of the curve because of their willingness to try new things, experiment and take risks, fostering a culture of innovation.
- Adaptability: they are more resilient to change because they are able to pivot quickly and adapt to new situations and changing circumstances.
- Better brains: learning grows new neural connections, which ultimately develops healthier, bigger brains.
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” — Eric Hoffer
The Bottom Line
Rather than seeing life and events in terms of successes or failures, ask yourself: “What did I learn during this experience?”
Tactics for Nimble Learning
- Fall in love with your brain. Your brain controls everything you do. When it works right, you work right. When it doesn’t, you don’t. Study it, learn about it and what it needs. For optimal learning ability, move more. Movement increases the blood flow to your brain, enabling it to do its job better. Eat for your brain. When you feed it more healthy fats and less sugar, it thrives.
- Choose your focus. Where focus goes, energy flows. Choose carefully what you feed your mind and what thoughts you believe, because your mental diet directly impacts how you feel. How you feel impacts your motivation and your ability to take action that leads to growth.
- Get quality sleep. Sleep is critical for learning, and it isn’t just the amount of sleep, but also the quality of sleep that matters. When we are sleep deprived, our ability to focus diminishes, and during sleep is when memories consolidate in the brain, an essential function for learning new information.
- Think “not yet.” If you find yourself not being able to do something the first time you try it, or consider areas where you’re not succeeding – rather than thinking “I’m just not good at that,” think “I’m not good at that yet.”
- Put progress over perfection. Perfectionism keeps us from moving forward, from taking risks, from trying new things. Focus on “baby steps” and incremental improvements to make progress, rather than perfect.
- Stay with it. Effort is what ignites ability and turns it into accomplishment. Don’t quit, keep going. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, and the combination of talent and effort is unbeatable.
“Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.” — Carol Dweck
What action can you take to learn something new today?
For further reading, see the following resources:
- Competency 22: “Nimble Learning” in the Korn Ferry Leadership Architect™
- Book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
- Book: Sometimes You Win – Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses by John C. Maxwell
- Article: What Having a “Growth Mindset” Actually Means by Carol Dweck