My friend Adam kindly invited me to one of his workshops the other day and afterwards I told him it was good for me because I felt like I was the dumbest person in the room…and that’s not a feeling I’d had for a little while.
Now, before you start muttering under your breath what an arrogant so-and-so I am, bear with me.
You see, I’m a teacher and a consultant and that means when I’m talking to people in classes or in one-on-one sessions I usually have more knowledge about the subject at hand than the person I’m talking to. After all, that’s why they’re paying me because I know stuff they don’t know…yet.
And I’ve also got into a rut of doing the same types of things. That is, I’ve been doing things I know a bit about.
But unfortunately that means I’m not being pushed. I mean, so often in life we spend our time building on a bit of knowledge we already have. Usually we’ll know a little bit about something to start off with, and then we’ll go and learn more.
But to sit in a workshop like I did, where I had no knowledge of the subject, was a challenge. It was really hard and my brain resisted the process every step of the way.
As the hours passed it wanted to drift off to other more well-known and comfortable topics.
“How is this relevant?” my brain asked.
“This isn’t your thing.”
“You are never going to get this,” it derided.
Like a runaway horse I had to keep reining my brain back to the present and persevere.
Adam was talking about the brain and how it repeats patterns that stop us reaching our potential and my brain was resisting (how surprising!). It was quite happy with its own patterns thank you very much!
Was I enjoying myself?
Um, no. Most of the time I felt like I was back in my year 12 maths class – trust me that was never fun.
It was uncomfortable. It was stressful.
Other people in the room were nodding as Adam made key points while I sat there feeling like a complete moron and thinking, “Help!!! I only understood half of what he just said.”
But I kept going.
At the end of the workshop I realised I had actually managed to absorb a couple of points. I did ‘get it’ – well a bit of ‘it’ anyway.
And that was enough, for now.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 41 years, it’s that sometimes my brain will resist the very thing that will help me the most. It’s quite happy with its habits and its patterns. But that’s not helping me to grow or expand my world. That’s not helping me to get where I want to go on this great adventure that is my life.
So in a couple of weeks I’m going to do another one of Adam’s workshops. I’m going to pull and stretch my brain into shapes it’s never been in before.
I’m also going to bravely (or some might say, foolishly) try some other things where I’m going to be the dumbest person in the room.
Because I know it will do me good to be uncomfortable and I’ll learn some new stuff too.
And my brain will just have to get comfortable with that.