The Power of being ‘Clueless’

“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” ~ Robert Burns

When we believe we are right, we don’t go looking for data to check otherwise. We close down our curiosity antennae and remain blissfully unaware of alternative views of the world. It can be cosy and comfortable existing in this state of course. Sticking with what you know keeps life simple. You don’t have to experience the dis-orientation of constantly questioning and challenging your assumptions. It lets you go about your daily business with minimal fuss. Life’s complicated enough, after all, without setting out to make it more challenging.

But, think about it a little longer. What if we all adopted this approach, all of the time? Nothing would ever change. Where would innovation come from?  What would happen to creativity?  The problems that we face, big and small, would simply become ‘accepted’ and incorporated into our ‘reality’, our ‘truth’, and not open to question. I guess this approach is more prevalent than we care to imagine. How much of our world, and ‘your’ individual ‘reality’, is governed by assumptions and beliefs? Continue reading

Do we need more than ‘just’ attention to learn?

I don’t believe we learn “simply by attending”….there’s more to it than that. It’s got something to do with integration and synthesis and making ‘new connections’ (resulting in new neural pathways). It is these new connections that we know as “Aha moments” – when things suddenly become crystal clear. This is captured well in my view by John Nelson in the book “What color is your parachute? For retirement(2007)”. He talks about the “sea of information out there and the difficulty of making sense of it all. It splashes around with no sense of order. It is also relentless – like a fire hose that forever is trying to fill you up as though you were an empty barrel.” Where he takes this metaphor next is the notion that it is “at the confluence of the information stream and your own stream of consciousness, that you’ll make your best decisions”. I would add that it is when you are paying attention to the confluence of streams of information that you “make connections” and where most learning takes place.