Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods: The Meta-Skill for the Acquisition of Skills


One of the most important skills we need to develop for ourselves and for our children is the skill of learning to learn. But what is this skill? How do we learn to learn? What gets in our way? The author explores these questions and claims that learning to learn requires that we learn to navigate the moods that we routinely fall into during the learning process. We don’t get to control what moods we fall into. Our culture and life experiences trigger them automatically. We have acquired a lot of standards/norms for what we think is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. Consequently, sometimes when we are striving to develop a new skill, it is not uncommon to find ourselves in unproductive moods that may block us from continuing to learn, such as overwhelm, resignation, frustration or anxiety. That’s normal and a regular occurrence during the process of learning. If we aspire to continue to learn, however, it is essential that we learn to shift out of moods that get in the way of our learning and cultivate others that are more conducive to continuing to learn, such as ambition, confidence, wonder and trust. The author claims that certain moods tend to regularly show up at every stage of the learning process. As beginners, for example, we may regularly fall into the moods of confusion, insecurity and/or anxiety which may prevent us from continuing to practice, asking for help or trying new things without worrying about making mistakes. As experts, we may find ourselves in a mood of arrogance and impatience which may prevent us from listening, continuing to learn and reaching mastery. Fortunately, the navigation of moods during the learning process is a skill that can be learned, and this book shares many examples of people, young and old, learning to do just that.

Design and development Tinca