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Learning outside our personal experience

Gary Keller recently posted, “The biggest challenge we all face is learning outside our personal experience. If we don’t figure this out, we are likely to make really tough mistakes.”

That quote sat with me all week and made me think: Why is it so hard to learn outside our comfort zone, what exactly is holding us back?

Richard Schwartz, the originator of Internal Family Systems Therapy would say it’s our defense mechanism, designed to keep us safe. Our defenses are deeply ingrained in our thinking and very hard to see. He is quoted in this article saying,

“Most people can’t even recognize their defensive parts because they lurk somewhere below conscious awareness. And because these parts have become so ingrained, so second nature, and you believe they’re vital to your survival, they really don’t want you to question them either.”

This means our brain thinks it’s threatening to learn outside our personal experience. We are literally fighting against ourselves when we attempt this.

When you understand the difficulty in this it’s humbling and you quickly realize you can’t do it alone. Learning outside our experience requires strong coaches and mentors. Which requires you to put yourself in rooms where the conversation is over your head.

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