Learning Mindset: Unlocking your mind

A learning mindset in many regards is built upon curiosity. A curious person is always seeking answers to questions that seem to be endlessly pop into their mind. Young children are innately curious and it is a tragedy when that innate curiosity gets squashed. Inevitably losing that curiosity also leads to the adoption of limiting decisions or beliefs and potentially the development of a fixed mindset or a mindset of defeatism. The good news is you can rediscover that innate curiosity and the beliefs that would be essential in a learning mindset.

Learning Mindset: Seeking Knowledge

At its core a learning mindset is the desire to seek knowledge, wisdom, and truth. It is the inner desire to constantly be learning. This does not mean taking traditional academic classes for your entire life.

The idea of going to school regularly for many, many people is a disturbing thought. Some, like me, love learning and reading books and taking courses are something I find enjoyable and wish I had more time to pursue.

Regardless of which type of person you are learning is something you cannot not do. It is impossible. The question is, are you purposefully directing and taking charge of that learning process? Do you have the necessary learning mindset? Once again there are four questions to think about. Why does it matter. What does building learning mindsets really entail? How do I make sure it is strong and aligned with all other areas of my life? What if I embrace it? What if I ignore it?

Seeking knowledge is one part of a learning mindset and is really all about learning something new. Anything. I want to learn better carpentry skills, so I would seek that knowledge. I may or may not develop good carpentry skillsbut if I know what should be done and how it should be done, at the very least I can have an informed conversation with someone I may hire to do carpentry work for me and can also be my own “watchdog”.

Learning about financial management, economics, the constitution, raising children, history, music, art, it doesn’t really matter, the more you learn the more varied your interests the more you can converse with a variety of people in their world. It is a tremendously powerful ability to win friends. It almost always makes you more valuable to others. Of course, if you try to pretend to be an expert in all these fields, your pride will lead you to an embarrassing fall. In short, one of the three primary components of a learning mindset that is important to build is the desire for and love of knowledge. Seek it. Be curious always.

Learning to ask and answer questions leads to knowledge. The Right Question Institute is an organization built to help individuals and organizations learn to ask better questions. Learning this one thing automatically causes you to think more and seek the answers – knowledge. You can learn new things easily in this modern world. New knowledge is at your fingertips.

You can read books. If you have a Kindle, you can download from Project Gutenberg countless classics from the ages. You can take on-line courses from CourseraUdemy, or even free courses from Hillsdale College. One other outstanding source for courses is the Teaching Company. Of course, major universities and colleges offer on-line courses as well. Undoubtedly, you will seriously consider the courses from Success Institutes which includes nine different courses that can be stand-alone courses, but are really designed to be part of the over-all academy training program. If I didn’t believe these courses were of incredible value, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing.

Taking courses, reading books, asking and answering questions is how you go about acquiring your knowledge. Knowledge is potential power. When you take control over what you are learning, you gain valuable assets to be used to acquire and protect your achievements. When knowledge is used with your foundation of love, it will lead to greater and greater levels of achievement. That is typically why you earn more as you get older, because you gain knowledge as you get older. You not only gain knowledge; you gain wisdom. The only question is, do you consciously apply your knowledge or do you just go about daily living in a manner described by Henry David Thoreau?

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

Learning Mindsets: Seeking Wisdom

Seeking wisdom then is another component of a learning mindset. It is an important way to strengthen your mind. Psychology Today had a great article on wisdom that is worth reading. Here is the gist of it. Wisdom is the ability to take your knowledge and your understandings of situations from experience and apply them skillfully in your decision making. In the article, developmental psychologist Paul Baltes is referenced as conceiving wisdom as expertise derived from five key components, which are having a rich procedural knowledge, rich factual knowledge, an understanding of different life contexts, an awareness of the relativism of values and priorities, and the ability to recognize and manage uncertainty.

The article goes on to mention sociologist Monika Ardelt as believing individuals develop wisdom as personality characteristics which encompass reflection, compassion, and the pursuit of truth. Psychologist Robert Sternberg on the other hand understands wisdom as a balance between oneself and others, so that actions are directed for the common good. That is one of the more powerful aspects of this learning mindset.

If you have been reading everything I have for you on this website you will see that foundation of love sneaking its way into at least two of these theories – encompassing compassion, which is built from love and actions directed for the common good, also built from love. How one goes about gaining wisdom in large part has to do with reflecting on not only our experiences but the experiences of others. When we reflect on them and ask good questions, we are much more likely to be able to pull out the necessary learnings from those experiences and apply them to future situations that may be similar. Doing that entails building a learning mindset and the beliefs, values, and character traits the make it up.

I would be negligent if I didn’t include in this piece on wisdom what four major religions views of wisdom are. There is no way of avoiding the impact of religious world views on a learning mindset. I don’t take this task lightly because wisdom is not always easily defined, but here is my best shot.

According to the website Islamic Wisdom, “Wisdom (‘aql in arabic) is a hidden power of thinking and logic. It discovers unknown realities from the known ones. Wisdom makes logical rules using plausible reasoning by induction and deduction. Wisdom then reaches useful conclusions and results based on these logical rules.” Here we see an obvious attempt to connect wisdom to proper thinking – reasoning and recognizing laws of logic. Further in that article it says this, “In other words, Quran does not consider those people as wise who do not believe on Allah, his plan and his prophets. Not using wisdom and reason degrades humanity and entraps humans into all kinds of harms. Further, the true believers are full of wisdom and free of any ignorance and harms.” Here, it explicitly states that those who do not believe on Allah, his plans and his prophets are not wise. In other words, you cannot be wise if you do not believe Allah. If you use your intellect, reasoning skills, and laws of logic and come to reject Islam you cannot be considered wise. This belief becomes part of their learning mindset. 

An online article found on the Harvard Divinity website page discusses wisdom in Hindu teachings. There are two key take-a-ways I get from this article. First is that wisdom comes from thinking deeply about important, deeply philosophical life questions. The second is the importance of the guru in developing wisdom. From their website:

“Wisdom is difficult to acquire on one’s own. It is the teacher, the guru, who guides one along the spiritual path. The teachings of the Upanishads were never intended to be published for anyone to buy. And they were not meant to be read in the library or at home in the living room. These teachings were meant to be studied only in the context of a life of serious spiritual discipline, only by those properly prepared, and only with a qualified teacher. The Prashna Upanishad tells the story of six eager students who approach a guru for study. But before he would take a single question, the teacher required them to live with him for a year, leading a life of discipline, to see if they were fit to be taught.

“From ancient times to the present, the guru has played an important role in transmitting the Hindu traditions of wisdom and practice. The guru receives credentials from his or her own guru, and thus from the guru’s teaching-lineage. The guru gives his or her students initiation or diksha into the spiritual practice of that tradition. This may include giving a mantra: a name, phrase, or word that is to be used in meditation practice, and that will guide one’s spiritual practice. The guru has a more general role as well, often serving as a counselor on questions of health, family, and marriage. The guru, especially as a teacher and spiritual preceptor, is also called a swami.”

This idea of having a mentor or teacher is obviously something I believe in because that is what I do. It is regaining its rightful place as a vital part of the all important learning mindset.

The website buddhanet writes this about wisdom“So what, according to Buddhism, is wisdom? The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent, and not self. This understanding is totally freeing and leads to the great security and happiness which is called Nirvana. However, the Buddha doesn’t speak too much about this level of wisdom. It is not wisdom if we simply believe what we are told. True wisdom is to directly see and understand for ourselves. At this level then, wisdom is to keep an open mind rather than being closed-minded, listening to other points of view rather than being bigoted; to carefully examine facts that contradict our beliefs, rather than burying our heads in the sand; to be objective rather than prejudiced and partisan; to take time about forming our opinions and beliefs rather than just accepting the first or most emotional thing that is offered to us; and to always be ready to change our beliefs when facts that contradict them are presented to us. A person who does this is certainly wise and is certain to eventually arrive at true understanding. The path of just believing what you are told is easy. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.” Here we see some very powerful characteristics of the wise: patient, intelligent, objective, good listeners, careful examiner of facts to name a few. All of which are character traits to be developed when acquiring a learning mindset.

Finally, we need to look at the Christian and Jewish teachings on wisdom. In their teachings, wisdom comes from God. It is in fact alien to natural fallen man, but it will be granted to man if we ask God to give it to us. In James 1:5 we read, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Solomon of course is the most famous example of the gift of Wisdom bestowed by God. In 1 Kings 3:8-13 we read the story, “And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor.”

Michael A. Milton, PhD in an article found at Biblestudytools.com writes the following. “We can survey all of the pool of biblical insights about wisdom and siphon the precious nectar of truth about how to get wisdom:

1. Recognize that true wisdom is something that we need. Like grace, wisdom is something God offers and which we must receive. It is a gift.

2. Repent of your claim on wisdom.

3. Receive the anointing of wisdom even as Joshua received wisdom after Moses laid his hand upon him. Recognize that wisdom is a spiritual act. It has very little to do with cognitive development or education. It has everything to do with the anointing of God to see what is right and what is wrong, to know what to do and when to do it. You and I both know that wisdom does not come along with a sheepskin of a diploma or certification. Cry out to God, and he will answer you and anoint you with wisdom. 

4. Use wisdom for the glory of God and for the good of others. If wisdom is not exercised then wisdom ceases to be. However, the very nature of wisdom instructs your heart to use your insights, your discernment, your discretion, your vision to fulfill God's will and to demonstrate how to love your neighbor."

Yes, wisdom is a bountiful blessing that is available to all. You have only to go to the Lord God and ask for this wisdom. As Paul prayed that the Colossians be granted wisdom, so I pray for those who read this: 

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9-10 ESV).

Let us always remember that Jesus is the fullness of God's wisdom. To receive the anointing of wisdom, then, is, in some way, to know the mind of God and to draw close to the one who is wisdom incarnate, even Jesus Christ our Lord:

But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a [c]stumbling block and to the [d]Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24 NKJV).

Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God. And to receive him is to recognize your need of him and cry out to him. God will answer your prayer. So, this is wisdom and how to find it.

Okay, there you have information you need on wisdom, but what do you do with it? You should analyze it, think about it, and draw your own conclusions, but I will share mine that have come from doing that same process.

1.     Wisdom is in part a psychological process that involves reflecting on your knowledge and all the experiences you have had to learn how to make decisions in the moment that will be best for all parties involved. Gaining wisdom is a process that happens over time and most certainly can and should include an understanding of the past.

2.     At a deeper level, it is knowledge and understanding that can only come from the ultimate source of all knowledge, who is the creator of it all – God. While man most certainly can attain wisdom through his own ability to reason and think, he cannot attain that incredible highest level of wisdom which can only come from God but is granted as a gift if you simply ask.

Given all of this, to seek wisdom means you are constantly seeking out the experiences of others, listening to their advice and understanding, reflecting on your own knowledge and experiences, seeking out God to aid in your decision making. Doing the first two only will give you some wisdom, doing all three will give you great wisdom. The desire for great wisdom is the vital component of this part of a learning mindset which we hope to have you build.

Learning Mindsets: Seeking Truth

The final of these learning mindsets is to always seek truth. In this postmodern world, truth seems to be under attack. In fact, a dangerous idea that is being incorporated into the not so enlightened students learning mindset today is the idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth.

There are philosophers who try to argue using all their fancy language and arguments that truth is relative and depends entirely on the worldview one comes from. Essentially, they are trying to say all world views have elements that make them true. The problem isn’t hard to see.

If one worldview says life began because God created humans in his image and his likeness with the purpose to have a relationship with him while another worldview says life began by random chance and over billions of years and the process of natural selection humans came to be, both these views cannot be true. If someone makes the claim that there is no absolute truth, the question to ask them is, is that a true statement? Not only is there truth, man cannot live without truth. There must be some laws, some “truths” that ground us. We must know that 1 + 1 = 2. A foundation then for our learning mindset is there not only is such a thing as absolute truth - there must be and we need to always be seeking it.

The symbolism of lady justice is a nice illustration of the importance of truth. The entire idea behind a moral justice system is to establish the truth. The blindfold on lady justice symbolizes impartiality. You must only be concerned with the truth, not which side wins. The scales represent the idea of weighing the evidence trying to determine the truth. The sword represents the power of the state to administer justice swiftly and finally, which means, in our understanding of law and justice, truth must prevail because justice can be swift and final. Lastly, the toga is representative of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophical traditions of seeking truth - veritas, the goddess of truth.

Seeking what is true and what is false is our obligation as humans. To simply accept a person’s truth claim as being true without at the very least thinking about it has the potential to lead to some serious problems. You obviously can imagine someone being duped into some situation that costs that person lots of money or at a bare minimum public embarrassment simply because they accepted a lie or mistaken, unverified information as the truth. Lives have been ruined in this way. That is the importance of seeking truth on a practical level. A learning mindset that doesn't have this love of truth is missing a vital element necessary to fully benefit from building a mindset of a champion. 

On a deeper more spiritual level, we ultimately need to seek the truth in terms of our own worldview. A learning mindset that ignores this will further damage the value of the mindset. As mentioned in our section on faith, doing this will lead to becoming a more congruent individual living out your worldview or will lead you to recognize your worldview is simply not true. Hopefully, if you do this diligently you will accept a worldview that is not just congruent with what you want to believe but is true.

As I already stated, Justice relies on truth. Our criminal justice system relies on truth. Trust in our leaders is dependent on truth. When people are caught in lies, deceptions, and deceit, truth is the victim. When truth becomes a victim, trust suffers and without trust in our leaders and our institutions our entire civilization is in danger. That is one of the great crises facing us today. Too many people don't have a desire for truth as part of their learning mindset. Because of that among other factors, people don’t trust two crucial pillars to our society – the news media and congress. That is worse than not trusting a person because a person is just one individual with limited power, but when you don’t trust an entire institution, especially ones that are supposed to carry out vital roles in the healthy functioning of our society, we have a problem. We need to rebuild that trust and it has to begin with people demanding the truth and demanding our leaders tell us the truth, which begins with building that into our learning mindset.

There are several affective strategies including the swish pattern to help you build a desire to learn or curiosity. If someone doesn't have a desire to learn, that was a decision that was made. If someone doesn't belief they are curious that is a belief that should be changed. A very, very powerful technique that can be done by oneself, though it is often more affective having someone guide you, is to use Time-Line Therapy TechniquesTM [registered trademark of Tad James] and to go to the root cause of the decision you made not to desire learning or that your aren't curious. At the core of this lack of desire was a decision upon which you associated more and more neutral or negative associations to learning which took away that desire. Once that is blown out, you can create a new decision and put it into the past and carry it out into the future where you love to learn. This is a relatively quick and straightforward process with incredible results. Once completed you have made loving to learn the core component of your learning mindset.

Two words of caution on this. First, TLT techniques are powerful therapeutic techniques. They can be learned and used by individuals, but you should not try to do therapy on yourself. If you have a diagnosed mental health disorder, that you are being treated for you should talk to your therapist before trying to do any TLT work on your own, even a simple procedure like this. It is quite possible you could stir up negative emotions that you did not intend on stirring up. For majority of us who hold onto negative emotions and limiting decisions this process is very powerful and something we do even when guided by video recording someone trained in these techniques. This is a core part of our 70 day online personal breakthrough training.

Second, if you don’t find it impactful it is quite possibly because you have attached some sort of what we call secondary gain to the not desiring learning. For example, a student whose identity and family identity is attached to not being school smart and not being good at school may have to go back to a slightly different root cause – when did I decide I was not good at school. It is possible there could be layers of limiting decisions and negative emotions to work through, however, I have found that these break through sessions work very well for nearly all the people I have worked with over the years. When done to create a winning learning mindset, the results can be dramatic. Look at the case studies on these pages as examples.

To get more on any of these tools to train learning mindsets - or any of these mindsets - simply click on the link to the tools section.

Learning Mindsets: Growth Mindset Training Academy

Champions are readers. Champions are lifelong learners. Champions seek knowledge. Champions seek wisdom.  Champions seek The Truth. If you want to be a champion of life you must have a champion’s mindset. You must have learning mindsets that support the goal of improving your mind. You cannot have one without the other.

The best value for doing that would be to register for our Success Institutes curriculum. The course on Training Learning Mindsets has 50 lessons that will not only shape the thinking necessary for improving your learning it will help you build the habits, which are a key to effective learning mindsets. It is thorough, will provide structure, accountability, all the while training you and changing the way you think. Besides training your learning mindsets, you will learn strategies and learn to apply strategies to help you gain knowledge, wisdom, and discover truth. All these courses work together to create the mindset of a champion.

Take that first step in training your learning mindset – fill out the form below to schedule a time to talk with someone. We simply would like an opportunity to have a conversation with you about your interest in training your mindset or maybe helping you with a teen or loved one. This conversation would last maybe 45 minutes and during that time you will have an opportunity to learn more, clarify what outcomes you are seeking, and together we can discover if this is for you. Just fill out the form below to schedule a call or maybe you want to watch one of our free webinars first. Either way you need to take that first step.

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