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There are many takeaways and good point in the interview, but what I like to share today is what Ido Portal called the zones of learning. He’s explaining this in the context of movements (since he’s a teacher of movements), but I found that this theory is applicable in any context. Whether we are
We all are going through these 3 zones of learning.
At this zone, you are exposed to something new, something you have no idea about – you’re exploring a new idea, new methodology, new movement, or new solution. Our brain has no memory with the routine at this stage, and we’re going to be suck at it – for now.
The most important thing to remember during this zone is that we all are going to be suck at something we do for the first time or the second. But if we keep our clear goal in mind, with flexible with our approach, we will get over zone 1 one day.
Every expert was once a beginner.
Once we get over zone 1 – after spending enough hours to explore and learn the patterns of anything – we’re getting into zone 2, perfecting. At this zone, we start to have a grip on the new skill we’re learning, and we’re not beginners anymore here.
We’re starting to find ways to perfect our skills, to use better vocabularies when writing, to take photos with better angles, to find better ways to close a business deal. If you’re laying a strong foundation during zone 1, you will have a much easier time in this zone.
And learning stops here? No, regardless any size of the new routine you picked – building a business, reading, or be a better dad. Learning doesn’t stop here. After we finally perfect a new skill, we’re going into the zone 3.
In this zone, it’s more of a keep-doing-it repeatedly than learning. We knew what exactly the routine is, it’s not a new thing or skill anymore. In fact, it’s something old and we used to.
Our brain will program the routine to make it automatic by reducing the need for decision-making every time we’re doing this particular thing. But as you can see, it called maintaining, which means we’re doing it to ensure we still know how to do so.
I’m a bilingual, or multilingual. Putting those Chinese dialects aside, I speak English and Mandarin. I speak Mandarin with my family and some friends, English with mostly peers and professional network. There was a certain period when I was away from home for work, and only speak English for almost 95% of the time in a day – for 4 years.
Suddenly, I found it’s hard to speak Mandarin again when I got to meet up with my family even though Mandarin is my major language since the age of 2 to 19. This happen to any skill we learn, if you stop practicing it, you’ll lose it, maintaining is what zone 3 all about.
It’s fascinating how human brain is programmed to learn new things and skills. If you take a closer look, there are different levels of learning required in each zone:
The beauty of these zones is that we’re allowed to learn new things consistently without going crazy. When you can perform a perfect handstand, you don’t need to pay full attention into your handstand anymore when you’re learning the new handstand push-up.
If you choose not to go into handstand push-up instead of the front squat with a barbell, you can completely put how-to-handstand aside or out of your brain.