There was a fascinating article in the Opinion Section of the Wall Street today that highlights Barbara Oakley, a Professor at Oakland University, Michigan and her book called Mindshift. It is a deep dive into the science and practice of learning. Her personal story truly demonstrates a multi-faceted journey in learning. We place obstacles in our way when confronted with new learning challenges. I can say that from personal experience. However, according to Professor Oakley, this holds us back from new outlooks.
I was taken by the notion of learning something new as a workout to the centers of the brain that are most affected by aging. That was not a new notion but hit home for sure.
What really captivated my imagination was the idea of learning the unexpected. Do we allow ourselves the vulnerability to ask, "Who do we want to become in our work and what needs to be explored in this life?" Not often enough. It is consuming to just respond to everyday challenges that are right in front of us let alone think out into what we want for our future self.
I attended a workshop a few weeks ago in San Francisco, facilitated by my favorite corporate poet and philosopher, David Whyte. He is working with executives to help them be "Half a Shade Braver" (his new topic and CD) and be vulnerable and risk yourself in leadership. That often means surrendering to the unknown and reflecting on key questions that we have inside of us that will patiently wait for us to answer. Those questions are not going away, says David Whyte.
The mindshift that Professor Oakley speaks of had me reflecting on the workshop with David. The question that I want to ask is, "what parts of me have I not spoken of or developed yet in my work?" What are the possibilities? It is an exciting time at any age to hold the possibilities in your hands and learn how to learn.