Are you Getting Better? Or just Getting Busy?

Agile Learners thrive in the most challenging and unpredictable environments.

Whether it’s increasing the bottom line in business, responding to disruptions in the workplace, achieving academic success in schools, improving parenting skills or triumphing in any other challenging task, the Agile Learner achieves more.

Why? Because the Agile Learner recognises that they can develop their most basic abilities. They know they can increase their talents and intelligence, and they understand that becoming comes before being. In other words, they have a Growth Mindset. 

"More importantly, the Agile Learner understands how to translate their Growth Mindset into actual growth. They recognise that a Growth Mindset is simply an invitation to grow. To achieve growth, they develop their Habits of Mind, constantly step outside their comfort zone, challenge themselves to raise their standards and do more difficult things. They engage in what I refer to as Virtuous Practice."


Anders Ericsson, the world’s expertise expert, says it is a fundamental truth of any sort of practice that if you never push yourself beyond your current best, you’ll never improve.

Your comfort zone is not what most people think it is

Unfortunately, many people confuse stepping outside their comfort zone with doing something new instead of doing something more difficult. The result is that they are able to do more, but their standard doesn’t improve. 

"The problem is that our comfort zone is full of what I call “easy things we haven’t done yet”. These are things we have the ability to do and can easily succeed at without truly stretching or challenging ourselves."

Most workforce training is in people’s comfort zone and does little, if anything, to improve the standard at which people perform. My friend and author of Success Mindsets, Ryan Gottfredson, calls this horizontal training.

Spending too much time in our comfort zone gives us an illusion of growth. The consequence of only engaging in horizontal training is that although you may learn something new, the standard or level of difficulty that was out of reach for you today remains out of reach for you tomorrow. You’ve spent all your time working on what you’re learning but not on how you’re learning.

"An Agile Learner understands that getting outside their comfort zone is about attempting more difficult things. They don’t spend their time getting busy; they spend their time getting better."

Agile Learners work on how they are learning and, as they raise their standard, they develop their Habits of Mind in order to succeed at increasingly difficult tasks. 

As Albert Einstein said, “Today’s problems won’t be solved with the same level of thinking that created them.” Agile Learners embrace this. They know that to succeed in increasingly difficult tasks, they must learn to become better thinkers. By developing their Habits of Mind, they learn how to behave more intelligently.

Agile Learners not only challenge themselves – they seek environments where they will be challenged! They constantly look for opportunities to grow and use these environments to cultivate new abilities. They get bored with horizontal training and seek environments where they can develop vertically. 

Agile Learners are Antifragile

But getting results is only one reason why we need Agile Learners in our organisations. Perhaps the greatest reason is that Agile Learners are antifragile. 

In his book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes sustems that thrive on disruption as "antifrgaile".
Unlike robust systems that survive change and fragile systems that break, antifraglie systems flourish, adapt and grow in the face of change.
In next week's blog, we'll explore this important concept in greater detail. 


People with Learning Agility will not only cope with the challenges of the future – their antifragility will prepare them to flourish in an unknowable future!

If you’d like to work together to help develop Growth Mindsets and a love of improvement in your organisation, simply reply to this email and tell me a little about your context. Alternatively, use this link to book a time in my calendar to discuss how I can support your work. 

Best wishes


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