Simon is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. A bestselling author, Simon has recently written a new book, The Infinite Game. Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect,” Simon is also a speaker and business leader. On today’s show, he’ll be drawing on his experience teaching leaders and organizations how to inspire people to explain how his leadership principles can be applied to education and change our lives.
In today’s conversation, we’ll explain how the five practices of good leadership apply to learning, and how changing your mindset about your learning will set you up for a lifelong journey of success. Along the way, we’ll give you some quick practical tips you can use to start changing your mindset to one of an infinite learner.
LEARNING WITH AN INFINITE MINDSET
- When we view learning as a finite game, we learn to take the test for the grade rather than to learn the subject.
- “I want to learn because I want to be the best version of myself so that I can contribute even more to the world and the lives of the people around me.”
- An infinite approach to learning is about having a purpose for learning outside of individual achievement e.g. you might want to choose to learn a subject so you can give even more to the world.
- An extreme example of what happens when we approach education with a finite mindset is playing out in the college admissions scandal: education becomes about achievement and status, rather than learning and giving.
BUILDING TRUSTING TEAMS
- None of us can learn alone: true learning doesn’t happen from taking in information, it comes from discussing information, for which we need a classroom and teachers.
- In modern education, we think that we can replace a teacher with a website or an app, and get as good an education through online learning over old-fashioned classroom learning.
- We may be able to achieve the same grade on the test using online methods, but the art of learning is lost—the classroom debate and discussion which requires a relationship with another person.
- The teachers we learned the most from were the ones who we felt cared about us, believed in us and encouraged us. They built trusting teams where we were allowed to ask difficult questions and not feel humiliated.
- Who is better at the subject that we are trying to advance our knowledge in? How and what can we learn from them?
- Looking at their efforts can reveal our own weaknesses and reveal new ways to learn and take in information.
- If we’ve gone down a path of learning in one direction, are we willing to blow it up and make a 180 degree turn to follow another path?
- It’s not just information we’re learning at college. We are also learning self-reliance, self-confidence, how to develop human relationships, how to deal with conflict, how to make choices for ourselves, stress management—and so much more.
- The things you learn outside of your subjects at college, and the friendships you build there, will stay with you throughout your life.
- Simon was terrible at learning through the accepted way of studying by rote and reading. One semester, he chose his classes based solely on teacher ratings and found that despite the workloads being high, he learned better.
- Abandoning the accepted knowledge of studying by rote being the best way to learn was a risk for Simon—he took the risk of taking classes to suit his own learning style, and it paid off.
- It is more exciting to be finite and transactional—committing yourself to a lifetime of learning sounds like a long time.
- School is a finite game—it has a set timeline, and there are agreed metrics through which you can come in first, but learning never ends and is infinite.
- Understand that it’s really good to be the dumbest person in the room sometimes. It might feel nice to be the smartest, but it’s so much more valuable to be the dumbest.
- It takes courage to put up your hand and say you don’t understand something. Chances are others will raise their hands too—and then you become a leader, because it was you who went first into the unknown.
- Courage in learning is the willingness to admit you don’t know something.
- Sometimes you’ll get humiliated for admitting it, but sometimes the person asking is just asking what you know to establish a baseline of your knowledge.
- You can change your mindset about learning. Simon believed he was wired to not remember names, but after Jim told him that he had just convinced himself he was bad at remembering them, he found a reason to learn them and became much better at remembering names.
- Simon’s reason for learning names was to feel connected to other people, and to have them feel connected to him.
- Books mentioned: Start With Why | Leaders Eat Last | Infinite Game
- Start With Why was about Simon’s loss of passion for his work, and how he found it again.
- Leaders Eat Last is about trust, how we form teams built on trust and what happens when we have trusting teams.
- Infinite Game is what happens when you have a purpose, you have trusting teams, and you need to operate in the world. Get your copy today.
- Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us (@jimkwik and @simonsinek) and tell us your favorite aha! moment. We’ll repost some of our favorites!