Why we don’t USE what we LEARN?

Photo of a white woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a print blouse and with her eyes wide open and startledHow does that work again?

If you’ve been to a conference, workshop, or training program, or if you’ve read a book or article teaching something you wanted to learn, you’ve almost certainly had that thought.

How does that work again?

You were intrigued by what you’d learned. You were excited to put it into practice.

And then you got back to your desk and …

How does that work again?

What’s going on here?

It’s simply neuroscience.

Your brain doesn’t learn by reading, listening, or watching. 

It learns by doing.

Now, obviously you have to get the information somehow, or you’re just scrambling around reinventing endless wheels. So, yes, attending conferences, going to workshops, reading books – it’s all good.

But it’s not enough.

I find myself deeply frustrated by books that ask questions, making me stop reading in order to think and write. Deeply. Frustrated.

BUT those are the books that actually help me create change in my business and my life. 

That is, if I actually do the thinking and writing, instead of setting the book aside “until I have time.” (Yeah, right. I just reminded myself of at least one book waiting for me to come back to it.)

If we truly want to learn something, we can’t be passive about it. We can’t expect to make progress just by soaking up information. 

We have to do the thing.

Which means feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Learning something new means we’re doing something new, and “something new” is inevitably going to feel awkward and uncomfortable, and probably confusing and maybe vulnerable as well.

Learning feels awkward, uncomfortable, confusing. That's how it's supposed to be. You can't learn just by reading, watching, or listening; you have to DO THE THING.Click To Tweet

And that’s where all too many people stop. We don’t like feeling awkward, uncomfortable, confused, and vulnerable.

But “awkward, uncomfortable, confused, and vulnerable” will eventually become “familiar, practiced, and confident.”

If, that is, you don’t stop. If you do the work and apply the learning.

That’s the only real way forward. 


For more about DOING, read this: Do the Verb!

Practice comes in many ways: doing, obviously, but also (as I mentioned) thinking and writing – and exploring case studies. Which is why all those, and more, are included in the course Change Leadership: strategies for success. Click the link to learn more.


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