Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why It's Hard For Adults To Learn

You sometimes wonder why kids learn easier than adults do. I mean adults can communicate better, understand things, comprehend things better, have a bigger brain, etc. Brain wise they have all the advantage, so why? Someone I knew had recently went to a leadership conference, the adult one lasted 2 hours longer than the kids one. When he asked why, they said because adults take a longer time to learn.

Kids learn with an open mind and without judgment. Adults, the older we get, the more judgment, mental barriers, hang ups, and sense of entitlement we have. It's not that we lack mental capacity, if anything we have more mental capacity and a more advanced and developed brain. It's just our mental game is weak in learning. You can take today's child and send him back in time 10,000 years and he will learn to make fire, hunt, gather. Send this same child a couple hundred years into our future and he will learn advanced calculus and quantum physics. All with the same brain. The capacity of our brain is nowhere near its limit yet, but already we stifle the progress with things like ego, emotional scars, and a weak mental game.

I look at how BJJ is sometimes taught. Adults want so much instruction, explanation of this and that, repeat of the instruction, etc. Sometimes the instruction and questions get in the way of learning. Children simply see and do, and get corrected along the way, fail, self correct, repeat, and learn through repetition. They want to get it perfect within the first few minutes. Children will get it when they get it. I tell people all the time, you can't get something, even if you understand it the first time out, you need a certain number of reps before you own it. You are doing as good as to be expected on your 5th attempt, 10th attempt, 20th attempt. They don't believe me and try to analyze and get it on a few tries, then move on to the next move.

Adults over-think, kids just do.


  1. I love reading your blog...Well written and very insightful.

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle

  2. thanks man, and that quote from Aristotle is true. So many people, you explain a move over and over and they don't get it (they only repped it 4 times though). But if they repped it 50 times in a row, they would have started to build it into habit. at the end of the day its our bodies doing it not our minds.



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