Your journey to inner fulfillment

What's wrong with the phrase "I'm still learning"


It just occurred to me that the phrase "I'm still learning" has one negative implication.

You know when you're relatively new to something (let's say a new skill on the job), and when a coworker asks you about it, you utter the words, "I'm still learning, but..."

I often catch myself saying this when I'm just starting to learn about something. While it excuses me out of having to know the answers early on, I'm realizing that in many cases it's a naive statement.

Why?

Because it implies that we reach a point at which we stop learning.

It's basically saying, I'm still in the learning phase, but once I'm done learning, I will have all the answers.

This is a subtle nuance, and you might be wondering why I chose to even write about this. But it shines light on something important, which is the concept of fixed versus growth mindsets, popularized by Author Carol Dweck.

The idea is that people with a fixed mindset believe talents, abilities, skills, and character traits cannot be developed or improved. That is, they're fixed.

On the other hand, people with growth mindsets believe all of those things can be developed and made better over time.

Ultimately, the main point is that we reach much higher levels of individual and collective success in all areas of our lives when we embrace a growth mindset.

The phrase I'm still learning could imply a growth mindset if we said it during all stages of growth. That is, when we're a beginner, intermediate, and expert.

But most of us only say it when we're first starting out.

The black belt still learns just as much, if not more, than the white belt. When we stop learning, we stop growing. And when we stop growing, we die.

So don't kid yourself. Don't imply that you'll reach a point when you'll stop learning about something just because you're past the beginner level.

Always learn.

After all, learning is progress and progress is happiness.

Live with substance!

Gabe


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2020 • Substance Over Style • gabe@substanceoverstyleblog.com