When do you learn the most?

Posted on by Nancy Slessenger This entry was posted in Brain, Grapevine, Learning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


Difference and Sameness


Which situations do you learn the most from? The comfortable ones or the uncomfortable ones?


It’s very easy to spend all your time with people you like and get on well with. What is much more challenging is to engage with people who are different and have different views.


Recently I was on a workshop run by Paul Scheele and he pointed out that whilst familiarity leads to connections, difference leads to learning.


Since he pointed this out, I’ve been doing my best to notice opportunities for difference and learning. Have you noticed how easily people dismiss ideas that are not the same as your own? Do you think it’s because they don’t want to learn or is it because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable? Or is it because they know they are right?



Many people don’t like being confused. They find it frustrating, yet it is one of the steps you need to go through in order to learn.


Once you know this, you can relax and enjoy it.


To move on from the state of confusion, you need to ask questions. To quote from an old TV series (Babylon 5) “Never fear answers. Only fear running out of questions.”


When you get frustrated, you can end stuck instead of asking questions. But you will find that if you do start asking questions, you will make a lot of progress.


Questions focus your mind and make it easier for you to learn.


Great answers breed better questions

I got this excellent quote from Mel Stephenson of The Data Studio. He’s hooked on

Great Answers Breed Better Questions

One of Mel’s great posters

questions. They are the answer to many situations.


When you come across difference and confusion, instead of dismissing or getting frustrated, try asking some questions.


If you are stuck for questions, you could do worse than trying my booklet:


Questions Made Easy

Used with skill, questions are a very powerful tool at work and in the rest of your life. Most people don’t realize quite how powerful they are.


In this booklet you will find 21 questions that you can use, with small adjustments, in many different situations to make yourself more effective just about every interaction you have with others.


In this booklet you will find:

  • What not to ask in performance reviews and appraisals (and why)
  • 31 questions for Coaching & Problem-solving
  • The questions not to ask when establishing skill levels
  • 10 questions to find out what someone can really do
  • Questions to help learning including a worked example
  • Questions for panic situations
  • Questions for dealing with situations when someone has behaved badly
  • Questions for when you need answers action or help (and what not to ask)
  • Questions to get decisions and persuade others
  • Questions for sales situations (with a worked example)
  • Tips on the easy ways to come up with the right questions and get the right answers
  • A summary of the 21 ‘root questions’
  • And much, much more….

Grid List

per page

  • Questions Made Easy

    Asking the right questions is crucial to getting the right information. These Questions will make you more effective both at work and in your personal life.

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One Response to “When do you learn the most?”

  1. December 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    How are you? hope everything is good with you and all my blessing is with you.
    I learn your blog about situation do you learn the most from. Topic is very good and the information which you put is amazing and i am also agree that if somebody want to learn something then the best class is learn from the other person who has an oppsite attitude from you.
    It require a lot of patience as it is not in everyone but for success in life, patience is must.