January 31, 2019

Four learning myths that could be blocking your success

We all face difficulties in learning. Whether we suffer from a lack of motivation or time, we sometimes find ourselves at a halt in our development. But sometimes, what stops us in our tracks could simply be problems in our minds that we could overcome if we set our minds to it.

Today we will look at four myths about learning, and how believing in them might be stopping you from achieving your full potential.

The first myth is that there is only one effective method of learning. Oftentimes, you may have found yourself working hard to learn a topic, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get it. This is because you haven’t tried to understand your own personal learning preferences and whether the method you were using helps or not.

The truth is, there are many methods of learning that can be effective depending on the individual and the content. In many cases, learners also use more than one method. This is rooted in each learner’s motivations and engagement with the subject. Some may learn better through a mix of listening and discussion, while others might require visuals or rely on note-taking.

Additionally, learning methods are not necessarily consistent throughout your lifelong learning journey. You may change your approach when you get to a different stage of life or as you venture into a new topic or skill. You need to match your learning approach to the content you are currently interested in, and also consider the factors around you such as time.

The second myth is that you should have the natural talent to excel. “You have talent” is one of those compliments you give people when they learn things quickly or just have a natural knack for something. You might have found yourself in a situation where you tried your best but can never be as good as the other person, even though the two of you are equal in terms of ability and intelligence.

The truth is that, while some people seem to have a natural ability for something, it doesn’t mean that you or anyone else can’t become good at it as well. At the end of the day, talent may help but your mindset toward learning is very important. You first need to want to improve and develop yourself and have the right attitude toward learning.

Additionally, this goes back to the first myth. You may have learned that certain methods weren’t effective for you and therefore you couldn’t catch on easily. There are different factors along with mindset and method of learning, so you’ll have to understand yourself first.

The third myth is that we all must avoid failure as much as possible. This stems from the standardised tests we take or entrance exams we need to pass to get into that university we want, but failure doesn’t mean the end of everything.

The truth is, failure is an important element for success. If you haven’t failed at some point in your life, it means you haven’t gone out to apply the knowledge you’ve gained. It also means that you are not learning the real-life lessons required to be able to achieve success.

Additionally, learning doesn’t happen merely by absorbing content. You must apply the learning and test it. There are chances of failure but that means you have more opportunities to learn from those mistakes. You sometimes have to fail in order to learn and rise up better than before.

The fourth myth is that each individual’s learning capabilities are determined at a very young age. When you do great in school, you’re often seen as someone who is likely to be successful in the future.

The truth behind this myth is that every individual develops their learning abilities at a different pace, some faster than others. But, that doesn’t mean that their future is preordained.

Take a look at some of the most successful business owners and CEOs of recent years. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates were all college drop-outs. This clearly didn’t mean that they didn’t have what it took to learn, develop themselves and then reach a level of success.

With these learning myths in mind, take a step back and reflect. Learning has never been a straight line. It has its difficulties and setbacks that can be frustrating. But with the right mindset and understanding of learning, you can overcome those learning myths, transform yourself and keep up with change.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa