Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

Magic Sustainable (Self) Change

February 26, 2013

Since many years I am involved in change management. The major concern everyone involved in change talks about is the resistance to change and how to overcome it. Change is considered to be negative, that people do not want to change and would love to continue as is. It needs a sense of urgency, a melting ice block, in order to get people moved and behave differently in the future.

But honestly how often have you wished to change some of your habits? How often have you heard your friends, your family members or colleagues talk about “New Years Resolutions”. There are so many private change initiatives out there where people embrace the change, where they see the benefit, the urgency to change, but yet sooner or later they fail during their change journey. Statistic shows that only 10% of all weight loss change initiatives lead to a sustainable success where the person keeps the aimed new weight over a period of 12 months stable.

What is it that always throws us back to point zero even with all our best intention at the start of every change journey ?

There is a simple answer – we work with the wrong part of our brain.
We need to incorporate our intuition, our longtime memory our emotional brain in the change. To often we only rely on our rational brain, our short term memory, our working memory.
The rational brain works well, when we read a new book on the latest diet, the best way to manage our time (stress) or how to optimize our taks at home or at work. It also works well when we join workshops and within this “safe” environment learn new methods, tools or systems.

But how often is it, when we are back in our “normal” environments that even with our best efforts we fail to implement our new tools, methods, system or processes ? Most of the time the excuse I get is – “well I wanted to, but than I did not have the time nor the energy and there were suddenly other priorities to deal with….

Over the years I have experienced a number of change methods and read the latest research on change.

Change has to do a lot with learning new things, relearning and unlearning.

Like learning a new language change takes time and if you do it well it can be playful, fun, exiting and a wonderful journey. It does not have to be hard, painful and teeth-byting discipline.

The best way to start any change journey is to view it as an expedition into the unknown. Why ? Well, would you start an expedition to the unknown immediately? Would you just run off and see how you end up in the unknown ?
Probably most of us would first like to prepare before we embark on such ambigious journey. Preparing means learning, learning where we wish to go, what it will take us to get us there, what we will do when we encounter barriers on the way, face risks or unexpected events. How much resources and knowledges would we need in order to arrive at the place of our desired destination. Clearly the conclusion is if you prepare well, you probably already have increased your chances of success from 10% to 50%. Yes, without having gone through any major painful exercises or change in diet, you have achieved 40% of your change goal.

Preparation Period: Every advisor in the field of change would recommend to start with a clear vision, with a well defined goal. But do you have one ready at hand ? Most of the time people won’t have a clear vision and if they have one is it really theirs ? Was it their true inner self who decided to lose 20 pounds ? Before visoning I recommend a reflection period. There are many ways to help you find your true vision your ultimate specific goal. Most of the time people start with a very high level objective, like loose weight. So before making it more specific I recommend you to do a few reflection exercises. The best way of course is if three people team up together in these exercises, but still you can do it in pairs or even alone.

In the first reflection start with your strength. Have you ever experienced a moment where you accomplished a succesful or even sustainable self change? This could be anything from stopping to swear in public, to quit smoking or loosing weight. Tell this success stories to others and let them play back to you whatpersonal  strength they noticed in your story you had applied and what tactics you used to successfully change one of your habits.  If you are on your own write your story down and then go through it by yourself or send it to someone to read and play it back to you.

In the second reflection start to think of a situation when you for the first time experienced change – it could be a positive experience or a negative experience. Ask yourself some open questions to get you talking about your experience or if you are in a group or pair let the other(s) pose these questions to get you talking. Key is that you talk freely and are only interrupted by questions that get you talking more and more about the experiences. Key is for the others to listen and note down your behaviour during this change and then feed it back to you again.

In the third reflection speak more about the as-is situation. If it is for example about loosing weight, don’t talk about loosing weight, reflect about what is about your weight that made you decide to reduce it. What is disturbing you now, what are the factors that made you come to the conclusion, that you want to change.

Equipped with the results of these reflections the true visioning becomes much easier and clearer and you understand much better what a realistic goal could be like and why you want it in the first place.

While you prepare for your ultimate change journey you can do it like all the successful explorer do – practice. If you are keen to try a new diet, do it, but see it as a practice. Do it for a short time and notice how you felt about this diet approach.

It is important to have a clear and realistic goal rather than being overconfident. That is why an extensive preparation phase will increase your chances. The reason is simple as overconfidence quickly leads to frustration.

But the most important output in this reflection and preparation phase is to uncover your intrinsic motivation. It is the intrinsic motivation that will lead ultimately to a successful sustainable change.
To often we are motivated by external motivational factors. It can be a partner that would like us to loose weight, the mother who wants us to stop smoking, the norms in our society and any other authority around us. Clearly we need to find our inner intrinsic motivation and identify all the external influences before we ever embark on our change expedition.

All of the sustainable change programs I have come across so far share several common themes – they help you define a realistic goal, they emphasize the intrinsic motivation – the true reason and purpose for your change and they also let you set a realistic time frame. They talk about several months instead of quick instant change within hours or days. Usually 6 months is the time you should consider for a sustainable transformation of your habits. And also these journeys are guided or coached by an expert.

Still, there are some more steps to take before you can embark on your expedition. The key questions is how do you get there ? What do you need to do in order to arrive at your destination ? Now you have a clear goal, understand your intrinsic motivation and you have a time frame set. Equipped with these information you need to calculate the ressources you need for your expedition. Start with the most important categories and strictly go through by categories when you plan. For an expediton one of the key category will be water or fluid. How much will you consume per day, will you find some on the way, how much will you need to carry and how long will the quality last, etc.

With the metapher of the expedition how will you translate it into your self change expedition. Marie Kondo discovered that if you want to become an orderly person and have a sustainable clean house or appartement the best is to take a 6 month period of time and go through your belongings by category and not by room. She recommends to start with your clothing. Collect all your clothing from all the different storage places in the appartement  and go through by subcategory. Key in her method is to touch every piece of clothes and see what your true emotional reaction is to this item. She recommends only to keep all the clothes you really feel an emotional not just a rational reason for keeping it. The rest of the clothes you will let go.
A note on the side: The method of touching and feeling helped Steve Jobs to identify the best design of the apple products – from ipod to ipad.

If it is about weight change – start with all your liquids that you drink. Collect all the liquids from water to beverages in your household and go through each of them and decide if you truely like this liquid or not. Do not follow outside advise, instead discover your own inner connection to each of the different type of drinks. Besides keeping water, any drink you keep but you are not attached to it put it in the bin or put it in a remote location of your storage if it is there for a visitor. Only surround yourself with things that matter to you and decide when you will consume them and in which quantaty. This is what every expedition does to decide how much and when it will consume their supplies.

An expedition can only begin once you know if you have sufficient ressources available. Erika Toman has devlopped a method to see when you are ready to embark on a change journey such as weight change. She uses a method called ReLaZ – it is an abbreviation of Re = Ressources La = Barriers (Lasten) and Z = Goal (Ziel). Reference: ReLaZ

With her ReLaZ approach Erika Toman has helped many people to sustainable change their body weight.
Her method is based on the latest scientific research which confirms how important the environmental factors are and their impact on our change journey. Before starting any diet Erica Toman works with her clients to calculate if they have enough Resources to successfully start their diet expedition. See: ReLaZ

References (More to come):
Magic Cleaning
Mehr Ich, Weniger Waage (German only)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (Kabat Zinn)

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning and Discovery

April 24, 2009

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning and Discovery
By Julia Barnard

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. Louis E. Boone

Liefelong Learning and Discovery

Liefelong Learning and Discovery

Do you enjoy learning? Is it a pleasure to discover new things, or do you associate the word ‘learning’ with being sat behind a desk at school being fed information you have no control over? Happily, as adults we can choose what we want to learn and the skills we want to develop. Learning should be a lifelong venture that should feature in all stages of your life. Even retirement should be an opportunity to try new things rather than letting it all go because you are no longer doing paid work. Recognising that learning is not just about books can make the process enjoyable for many.

Learning gives you opportunities to discover new skills and acquire knowledge. However, it offers more than that. It is an opportunity to renew your energies, get excited, and curious. As you learn and get absorbed in a new project, you are giving yourself the chance to experience flow which is a sure-fire way to happiness. Learning can help prevent boredom as you have allowed more opportunities to come into your life. Importantly, you will learn things about yourself. As you develop your skills, it may take you to new places and perhaps push you to face your fears. You will learn to not be afraid of change and how to face a challenge.

Love of learning has been identified by Seligman as one of the 24 character strengths. It is a strength that we can all nurture, however for some it is a signature strength and as such is a pleasure to use. Using this strength is also an opportunity to work on and develop other character strengths. For instance learning a new skill requires persistence. It is a chance to be creative and boost a sense of optimism. When you always have new things to try in your life, things you still want to know about, you continue to have something to look forward to.

Learning is also good for your brain. Research indicates that for people who had opportunities to work on their reasoning and memory skills their cognitive decline had slowed down. This reduces the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

It is worth pointing out that it is not just about the act of learning. What you learn can help you live a better life. For instance, knowing how to be happy, healthy and live well. Knowing why exercise is important rather than accepting it as a broad statement made by health experts. Such knowledge gives you more control over your life and helps you make informed decisions.

Tips to propel you on your learning quest

  • Learning can take whatever shape or form works for you. Whether you attend a class, read a book or website or get hands-on is up to you.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you don’t like it, don’t do it again. Simple.
  • Your learning should always be interesting and a challenge you can manage. You may need to take your learning to the next level to get the most out of it. Try to reflect regularly on how you are progressing.
  • When you are trying something for the first time, it may not work out exactly as you planned. This is okay. You are learning after all. So learn from what went wrong, and go again.
  • Learning can be a great opportunity to exercise your persistence and belief that you will succeed. Imagine how it would feel to become an expert in your area? Persistence and patience will help get you there.
  • Decide what level you want to take your learning to. Is it to expand on your existing knowledge so you become an expert, or is it an opportunity to branch out somewhere completely different?
  • Take a trip to the library. Explore the shelves, especially those you would not ordinarily visit. See what interesting pieces of information you can pick up. You never know, something might pique your interest.
  • Read blogs written by people who are dedicated to your topic of interest. They will offer a unique insight into one person’s perspective on the subject.
  • Keep learning and remain open-minded. Remember the first thing you read may not be correct or the only way to do things. Remain open to other viewpoints.
  • Set yourself a goal of learning something new every day or week.
  • Try to enjoy the here and now of learning, rather than just focusing on the end goal.
  • Learn more about what brings happiness into your life.
  • Grab a puzzle book the next time you are at the newsagents. They give your brain a great workout.
  • Keep it varied. That way you are always interested and your brain is occupied.
  • Don’t be afraid of change or the opportunity to do something differently to how you would normally.

Copyright Julia Barnard 2009

Julia Barnard is a professional counsellor living in Adelaide, Australia. She provides an online counselling service through her website http://www.makethechange.com.au, which offers counselling at a time and place that suits you. Julia also writes articles and tips for the website aimed at enhancing wellbeing and promoting good mental health.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Julia_Barnard
http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Benefits-of-Lifelong-Learning-and-Discovery&id=2247038

Recommended Readings:
Medina, John: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

The key factors for successful learning – continued 2

February 18, 2008

In my recent post I introduced you to filters as a great way to filter out what you really need to learn.

Now I found an excellent example of a filter for language learning by Timothy Ferris in his blog post: How to learn (but not master) Any Language in 1 Hour (Plus: A Favor).

With this Filter what he calles Deconstructing a langugae Timothy determines the likelihood of becoming fluent in a language in the next to two to twelcve month.

Timothy Ferris is the best selling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek“.

The Key Factors For Successfull Learning – Continued 1

January 23, 2008

I have already written one post about the key factors for successfull learning. Learning is a process. And to run a process at optimum yield (speed, outcome,etc.) the best is to focus on the leveraging factors that influence the process most.  In the last post I mentioned the recreation factor to be far more influencial than focusing on the action. Sleep is probably the key recreation factor before anything else. I will write about other recreational factors in another post.

Now what is second most important for the Learning Process ? I call this the learning filter. It is most effective to filter out the noise before learning anything useless. The noise is the information you do not need to learn. Also information that you could retrieve on time when needed (Example Wikipedia). Now how do I build a filter ?
To build a filter seems to be difficult task to do especially if it is a new subject you want to learn.
So how would you know this filter is not filtering out the information you need ?

Steps to build your filter:

1. Analyse

2. Determine the main questions

3. Define your learning outcomes.

4. Build an agenda or a table of content.

1. Analyse 
For every subject there is are the so called standard book, website or experts. This is one of the first steps to take.  I will write a post in more detail soon about this step.

2. Determine the main questions
For every main topic in the book or on the website create the main question that this topic is going answering.

3. Define your learning outcomes
Identify based on the main questions what is the outcome you need.
Example: Question: How to I create a pivot table in Excel 2003 ? Your intended outcome is: Create a pivot table in Excel 2003. Now to get to this outcome there are also certain steps to take – which you would identify and list in step 4.

4. Build an agenda or table of contents
This is now actually the filter. Here you list based on your questions and outcomes what resources you need to identify and collect in order to achieve your outcome. In the above example it would mean to read a certain chapter in a book for example. Also to find an example on the internet or to ask a specific question around pivot tables in a usergroup.
But before you start running first build the agenda. Going of to usergroups to ask a question before you have an overview of the subject will only confuse you as these questions are too specific and often recieve different answers depending on the person who answered understood the question.

The Key Factors For Successful Learning – Continued 1

January 23, 2008

I have already written one post about the key factors for successfull learning. Learning is a process. And to run a process at optimum yield (speed, outcome,etc.) the best is to focus on the leveraging factors that influence the process most.  In the last post I mentioned the recreation factor to be far more influencial than focusing on the action. Sleep is probably the key recreation factor before anything else. I will write about other recreational factors in another post.

Now what is second most important for the Learning Process ? I call this the learning filter. It is most effective to filter out the noise before learning anything useless. The noise is the information you do not need to learn. Also information that you could retrieve on time when needed (Example Wikipedia). Now how do I build a filter ?
To build a filter seems to be difficult task to do especially if it is a new subject you want to learn.
So how would you know this filter is not filtering out the information you need ?

Steps to build your filter:

1. Analyse

2. Determine the main questions

3. Define your learning outcomes.

4. Build an agenda or a table of content.

1. Analyse 
For every subject there is are the so called standard book, website or experts. This is one of the first steps to take.  I will write a post in more detail soon about this step.

2. Determine the main questions
For every main topic in the book or on the website create the main question that this topic is going answering.

3. Define your learning outcomes
Identify based on the main questions what is the outcome you need.
Example: Question: How to I create a pivot table in Excel 2003 ? Your intended outcome is: Create a pivot table in Excel 2003. Now to get to this outcome there are also certain steps to take – which you would identify and list in step 4.

4. Build an agenda or table of contents
This is now actually the filter. Here you list based on your questions and outcomes what resources you need to identify and collect in order to achieve your outcome. In the above example it would mean to read a certain chapter in a book for example. Also to find an example on the internet or to ask a specific question around pivot tables in a usergroup.
But before you start running first build the agenda. Going of to usergroups to ask a question before you have an overview of the subject will only confuse you as these questions are too specific and often recieve different answers depending on the person who answered understood the question.

The Key Factors For Successfull Learning

January 15, 2008

We are raised to take action. We create action list, task list, strategies, To Do lists, and tons of best practices. Nowadays time and sleep are our enemies.

Learning is a journey without an end. Learning is not like constructing a house. Once finished you move in and live happily ever after. Learning needs to be continuously repeated. It is an ongoing process.

In my life and especially in my work life I have designed and implemented many processes and I worked with many systems. During this time I came to favour six sigma as a wonderful way to optimize a process. Six sigma a scientific method to optimize processes.
I do not want to write too much about Six sigma here, but I have added literature and links in my references that will provide you with more insight into the topic. The reason for me to mention six sigma here is the search for the leveraging or key factors that have the greatest influence on the result of the learning process.

Often key factors are overlooked especially if we completly focus on action and task lists. The focus is still for many on the amount of time spent on learning. The more I spent time the more I learn is the current belief. And one does not think about recreation enough. And the main factor for good recreation is sleep. Getting the right sleep is probably the most influencial factor on learning. So how can I improve sleeping is something that I will write about in another post, because I am going to sleep now….

(Also I will add my references later)

Good night.

The Key Factors For Successful Learning

January 15, 2008

We are raised to take action. We create action list, task list, strategies, To Do lists, and tons of best practices. Nowadays time and sleep are our enemies.

Learning is a journey without an end. Learning is not like constructing a house. Once finished you move in and live happily ever after. Learning needs to be continuously repeated. It is an ongoing process.

In my life and especially in my work life I have designed and implemented many processes and I worked with many systems. During this time I came to favour six sigma as a wonderful way to optimize a process. Six sigma a scientific method to optimize processes.
I do not want to write too much about Six sigma here, but I have added literature and links in my references that will provide you with more insight into the topic. The reason for me to mention six sigma here is the search for the leveraging or key factors that have the greatest influence on the result of the learning process.

Often key factors are overlooked especially if we completly focus on action and task lists. The focus is still for many on the amount of time spent on learning. The more I spent time the more I learn is the current belief. And one does not think about recreation enough. And the main factor for good recreation is sleep. Getting the right sleep is probably the most influencial factor on learning. So how can I improve sleeping is something that I will write about in another post, because I am going to sleep now….

(Also I will add my references later)

Good night.

Continuous Learning & Development

January 9, 2008

 I am continuing this blog at edublogs with many new interesting posts since my move !

How often have you heard the two words continuous learning in the last years ?

These two words are becoming louder and louder every day for a simple reason:
The way we live and work is changing rapidly. Is it good or is it bad ? This is a question each of us has to answer oneself.

But what I will list here are tips, tricks, tools, techniques and processes that will enhance your continous learning capabilities.

I have spent most of my professional life around continous learning and development.
The last 20 years I have looked at it from different angles. Now it is time to start filling this blog with my research, experiences and lessons learned.

More will follow soon.

Continuous Learning & Development

January 9, 2008

How often have you heard the two words continuous learning in the last years ?

These two words are becoming louder and louder every day for a simple reason:
The way we live and work is changing rapidly. Is it good or is it bad ? This is a question each of us has to answer oneself.

But what I will list here are tips, tricks, tools, techniques and processes that will enhance your continous learning capabilities.

I have spent most of my professional life around continous learning and development.
The last 20 years I have looked at it from different angles. Now it is time to start filling this blog with my research, experiences and lessons learned.

More will follow soon.


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