LiLTweeks: How is a master learner created?
How is mastery created? Do you have a growth mindset?
The lesson I learned this week [LiLTweeks] came from eight times National Chessmaster Champion turned World Tai Chi Push Hands Champion Josh Waitzkin’s book, The Art of Learning. Robert Pirsig couldn’t have said it better, “It will take a furious interruption to make you set this book down.”
Josh’s message is loaded with invaluable life lessons of how one incremental learner journeyed between two competitive sports combining what he learned in deeply reflective observations. I’m slightly biased, because I’m such a big fan of the movie, Searching for Bobby Fisher, based on Josh’s story as a kid, but more than anything I admire his ability to be taught. An effective teacher knows the student learned the lesson because he reflects on the instruction with a strong understanding about what happened and Josh does this very well.
This book left me asking, “Are you teachable, Carter?” followed by, “Do you truly understand how to kick start those neurons, because, you seem to be making repeated mistakes, partner? and “What does this mean regarding my ability to mentor effectively?”
As a K12 teacher for two decades and a student for nearly fifty years, I’ve only been able to dream of easily understanding mastery until sitting at Josh’s literary feet. He has reminded me what it means to wonder with awe during the pursuit of excellence. Josh’s book confirms in very creative storytelling that whether it’s a championship battle or a novice seeking small successes, mastery is accomplished through focused incremental growth processes fortified with performance resilience.
Whether you decide to read Waitzkin’s book or not, you owe it to yourself to learn how being taught as a kid to believe you have something special needed to succeed can be derailed when that special something isn’t enough. There is an alternative. Dr. Carol Dweck, a leading researcher in the field of developmental psychology, calls it entity theory vs. incremental learning. Through focused incremental growth processes fortified with performance resilience, you can pursue and master excellence.
Stay focused. Stay confident. Keep learning and you will win,
Carter | @laroncarter
P.S. LILTweeks is a weekly observation of some problems I’ve encountered and possible actions for resolve. If you have been inspired from this article please leave a comment and consider subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader [look for Weekend Post].