We like being comfortable — especially in our learning. We read what we are already familiar with. We revisit what we already know. We practice what we’ve already mastered. This feels nice. It feels like we are learning so much. But sadly, we keep up an illusion. And this can be devastating.
We try to avoid discomfort. We don’t like exposing gaps in our knowledge. We almost hate facing obstacles. They make us anxious. We just want to stay in our comfort zone. But:
“Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.” — African Proverb
We have to accept and face obstacles to truly learn. Learning only becomes deliberate and meaningful if we are trying to solve a misunderstanding, a perplexity, or an obstacle. It helps us leave our comfort zone. By leaving our comfort zone we have the ability to tinker in new territory and even expand our comfort zone by solving the obstacle.
In the end, we learn to build experience. And, we can only build experience through obstacles. Even if it means we fail in the process. The fear of failure might be what keeps us away from the obstacle in the first place. But we should nevertheless face it. Failing is a great lesson and an even greater learning experience.
Don’t identify yourself with your failure. Only because you failed at an obstacle doesn’t mean that you are a failure yourself. You just failed. You didn’t become a failure. Try to see it as Chris Do. He sees “fail” as — first attempt in learning.
So, let’s face rough seas and become skilful sailors.