In the main schools do a great job teaching lots of kids the basics of being able to function in society. There is one thing that happens in schools that can create a huge block to learning that I have seen many people have. This article is about that block and how to overcome it if you have it.
Learning Right and Wrong
Our school systems rely a lot on tests and assessment. The issue with this is that it means there are right and wrong answers. Or in a creative subject there are criteria that define good and bad work. That in itself is not a great issue there are lots of things in adult post school life that work around criteria, standards, right and wrong.
The issue is at school we are constantly faced with positive consequences for being right and negative consequences for being wrong. This can be a real issue in holding people back.
In any new learning experience you go through a learning curve that starts with you not knowing or not being able to do through to partially skilled and then on mastery. But that whole process requires you to practice or learn through the not very good phase.
Some people went through school being told they weren’t very good at whatever subject, or even worse, not very bright or not academic or not very good at learning. The worse thing that could happen is forming a belief around that and then holding yourself back as a result.
The typical thing I see with clients though is a fear of failure. It usually stems from some teacher publically humiliating them for not being able to answer a question or do a task. I have dealt with hundreds of public speakers that were holding themselves back because some teacher had got them to do something in front of the class and then told them off when it didn’t go right.
Fear of Failure
It only takes one incident with enough emotional charge or several repeated events for this to become an issue where the negative emotion is anchored to that type of situation. And years later you may even have forgotten the initial event but you still feel the emotion when the situation occurs.
I think schools should work differently. They need to reframe the idea of failure. To get good at something you need to have a go. Failing means you are taking on something you don’t quite know how to do yet…and that makes it a learning opportunity. That to me is a cause for celebration.
The only way to succeed is to fail your way to the top. That is how I would like teachers to frame failure for their students. And to be fair I am meeting more and more teachers with brilliant ways of doing just that.
That is fine for children learning and growing but what about if you already have this stuff installed in you? Often people will just hype themselves up into a frenzy of energy and excitement and power themselves through the blocks. This is an option but it can also be dangerous. Here are two connected article I recently wrote on the dangers of doing things this way:
In the Confidence Booster we discuss instead of trying to overcome the negative emotions you just let them go instead. Click Through and find out more about it here: