When did you last approach a professional development opportunity with a willingness to boldly go where you had not gone before? Or let’s dial it down a notch to the personal level: when did you last try something other than “your usual” at your favorite restaurant, walk or drive a different route to work, hit seek on the car radio tuner and listened to whatever station it found first?
We tend to be creatures of habit, regularly revisiting places we have been. The end result? As author Margaret Wheatley has noted: “Gradually we become more certain, but less informed, and far less thoughtful.” In times when uncertainty seems ever-present and innovation ever more desirable, none of us can afford being less informed and less thoughtful.
Learning, while often done in community with others, begins with me. If I am unwilling to interrupt my assumptions, closed to the value in the opinions of individuals with whom I disagree, or unlikely to engage in new experiences, I cannot learn and should not pretend otherwise.
And while I seek out learning environments and experiences compatible with my learning style, I must assume responsibility for my learning no matter what the situation, who the presenter, or when the program occurs. This may require discarding what I expected or hoped to learn and instead seeking the learning available to me at that moment, in that setting, with that content.
Because everyday moments offer important learning, I will reflect daily, considering the following questions: What happened today? What observations can I make about what happened? What transferable learning is available in those observations?