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The Zone
The Zone : The Learning Zone

The Zone

The Learning Zone

By Tom Evans

« The Creative Zone

One trait that all the inhabitants of the Doing Zones share is that they are all quick learners.

Anyone who wins an Olympic gold has learned something a bit special in order to get them to the top of that podium ahead of their rivals. Entrepreneurs are continually learning from both their successes and failures. Many artists hone their craft until their last breath.

For many people though, the very idea of learning brings back horrible memories of their school days and having to memorise an unending stream of seemingly useless information. For many an adult then, the idea of voluntarily entering the Learning Zone can result in fast entry to one of the Danger Zones. We might enter the Fear Zone thinking we might make a fool of ourselves. If we don’t pick it up as fast as everyone else, this can tip us straight into the Anger Zone, both with ourselves and the teacher.

It’s a great shame that the thought of learning something new brings up so many demons as, when delivered and approached in the right way, learning can be a lot of fun. Indeed, it could well be that one of the purposes of our life and time on this planet is for us to learn. If you think about it, we are even hard wired to learn. Our very survival is based on it.

Early humans had to learn to hunt to survive. As a baby, we learn to make sounds so that we can tell our mother when we are hungry or uncomfortable. We learn things nowadays so that we can get a job, so we get paid, so that we can afford to eat. Nothing has changed that much apart from, as a species, we have learned an incredible amount since we came down from the trees.

A quick random browse around a web site like Wikipedia will tell you that collectively humans know quite a bit today. At the same time, there is a near infinity of unknown information we could each still learn. We know for a fact that we know so many more things than our grandparents and great-grandparents. It is a reasonable assumption therefore that our descendants could know a lot more than we do.

That said, sitting on our laurels and remaining in our comfort zone can feel much safer than going out into new and uncharted territory. As a result, many people stop learning at the earliest opportunity.

To help us learn, it’s good to be incentivised. So just imagine, for starters, that you could ‘earn more’ if you ‘learned more.’ What then would life be like if it could be easier, not harder? Could it be possible we could discover the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything?

Fortunately, merely just being alive, we cannot help but learn. To learn nothing is something we actually have to work hard at doing. Learning though is something which is much easier to do when we have an incentive. It’s even easier still when it’s enjoyable.

Like all muscles, the more we learn, the easier it is to take on new learning. Each new learning forges new neural connections and, if you need a good incentive, it’s thought to offset the onset of dementia.

With this in mind, what is not to like about learning? •

Next: The Time Zone »

Tom Evans Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »

Updated 1/18/15