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The Learning Zone – Overcoming Stagnation

By Jami Gibson

As someone who tries to continually improve, personally and professionally, in the things that matter to me, I recently was feeling discouraged when I felt stagnation in an particular area of my life. You’ve probably felt this way before. The wheels are spinning, but you’re not making any vast strides. It’s frustrating. So when I watched Eduardo Briceno’s TED talk, “How to get better at the things you care about,” it really captured my attention, and I was intrigued by his outlook on why stagnation occurs and what one can do about it.

Quite simply, Briceno breaks down our life activities into two zones: the Learning Zone and the Performance Zone. Here’s what they look like, and the characteristics of each:

Briceno believes that stagnation comes when we spend much of our time in the Performance Zone, just doing, but not actually learning and improving. While this helps us get things done efficiently, it leaves little room for growth.

How can we spend more time in the Learning Zone? He offers some techniques for growth, such as:

  • Exchange ideas with a mentor or colleague
  • Ask for feedback, ask questions, listen, experiment
  • Read, watch videos, take online courses, explore
  • Observe, reflect, and adjust
  • Share our mistakes and learnings with others

As Briceno puts it, when we’re clear about when we want to be in each zone, with what goal, focus, and expectation, we can better perform and better improve.

What areas of your life are currently existing in your Performance Zone? Would you consider taking the Learning Zone approach to improve them?

Source: Eduardo Briceno, “How to get better at the things you care about.” TEDxManhattanBeach, November 2016

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