Beliefs and Knowledge: How We Limit Ourselves
We all want to build new skills. We feel that if we knew more and had more skills, then we could be more effective in the world. However, we sometimes fail to remember that the things that we can learn is limited by some of our psychological processes. How do these psychological processes limit what we can learn; how do beliefs and knowledge work together?
Beliefs and knowledge
Learning is about the acquisition of new knowledge and new skills. when it works well, these things allow us to live happier and more fulfilled life, and to be more effective in the work that we do. Or, they might be just plain enjoyable if the skills are associated with our leisure or the things we want to get done in the world.
How our beliefs limit our learning
However, this seems to be a limit to acquiring new knowledge and learning new skills. This seems to be linked to the beliefs that we have about ourselves. More specifically, it seems that the things we can learn to do in the world is limited by the way that we see ourselves. Let's take an example. Steve doesn't think he's very good communicator, but he wants towants to learn how to be more effective at communication. To even begin to improve, he needs to believe that improvement is possible before even begins acquiring the new skills. If on the other hand, he believes he's a poor communicator because that's just the person he is, then he doesn't seek out opportunities to change, because he doesn't believe change is possible.
Another example; Jane would like to study to get a degree, but she believes at her core that she isn't smart. She might think of studying, but then quickly dismisses the idea; she certainly never gets around to applying for any courses. She permanently stays in the idea of wanting to study, but then believing that she can't.
If there something this we can take from this, it's to leave open our beliefs about ourselves. We might believe certain things about who we are, but it's best to hold those things as just mere possibilities, not certainties. It's this lightness of holding that allows us to eventually take the action to become different.
Let be know what you think in the comments. Now, read about Understanding Your Mixed Feelings
– Tim Hill