Friday, February 7, 2014

Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

If you were to read Angeles Arrien’s book, The Four Fold Way, she references remaining open to continuous learning by saying, “be open to outcome not attached to it.”  You can learn more about this notion by checking out this "Ted Talk" or reading the book.  We believe that being open to continuous learning is another way of saying, “Stay up-to-date and practice Current Best Thinking.”  In this strategy you make a decision, but you are always open to changing that decision as you learn something new that adds a different spin or context to the decision.  When you are open to outcome, or open to continuous learning, or practice current best thinking (all very similar to us), what you are really saying is that you believe in learning and that everyone can learn something new.  You would not subscribe to the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  You would, on the other hand, believe that learning can be done by everyone who is willing to find a different way and to change a habit.
Sometimes the challenge seems to be in how we describe the act of being open to continuous learning.  When we speak about being willing to “get better” there is an implication that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.  That makes sense.  So what if we used the word “strengthen” and talked about strengthening the good work that you are already doing.  Would this make the idea of remaining open to continuous learning feel like a position of proactive persistence rather than reacting to a new point of view? 

When you are open to continuous learning, it is also important to know what works or fits, and what doesn’t work or fit.  If something doesn’t work, then you have the opportunity to try something new.  Remember, Thomas Edison made over 10,000 light bulbs that didn’t work and yet remained open to continuous learning and stated, “I simply know 10,000 ways not to build a light bulb.”

Consult 4 Kids is all about presenting people with opportunities to be open to continuous learning.  We have a Virtual Education staff development system that will plug afterschool professionals into written and video training, 24/7/365.  Visit our website at or email us at  

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