I have been struggling with this for almost my entire adult life. I have a ton of good friends who will recommend a book, send an article, talk about a new video or seminar they attended where they learned all kinds of new things about life, being parents, being spouses, being a leader and so on. I have done my own share of this as well. Like so many, I enjoy a new perspective on the same challenges. After a while though, when all this learning translates into nothing more than a few days of change and a quick revert to the old self, it begs the questions: What is the real purpose of learning if not to grow? Is it possible to become so enamored with the learning itself that the celebration of it that becomes a mere smoke screen for the lack of growth? With the abundance of learning channels, has learning become just intellectual and spiritual entertainment?
I believe it has. Learning without growth and controls to sustain that growth is indeed entertainment. It has become a different ‘new movie’ or theater production or book. A place to escape the realities of the real world we all live in and for brief moments feel like we are at least trying to make it better. Just last week I walked out of a yoga class with a lady who I see regularly fully engaged and skilled in class yelling on her phone as she walked to her car in the parking lot outside. Among many skills, yoga teaches breathing and quiet resolve of the body which she is good at in class. However, as soon as she left the class and returned to her real world, those skills did not transfer. You can juxtapose this to a book club, training seminar, great speaker, or just about any learning done by all of us and the norm is similar to the yoga lady. The same can be said of diets or early year gym attendance. There simply is not enough focus on sustaining growth by both the learning modality and the learner.
This week, take inventory of what you consume intellectually. What do you read, watch or discuss. How much of that is actually a part of your day to day routine in all you do. Whatever the delta, my suggestion would be to consume less ‘learning’ and transfer that time to focusing on growth. Find a partner, spouse, friend and pair up to focus on what you will do together to sustain the new learning for at least 6 months. Consuming less learning, something I thought I would never suggest, with a focus on growth is infinitely better that constant learning with no growth or positive change in your life.