2 Types of Learning…Shallow vs. Deep…Beware of 1 of them!


In a previous blog…I discussed the importance or relearning how to learn…and why we should apply it to learn new skills to add greater utility to our family, community and the world.

However, it was too early at that point to discuss the double nature of learning…as there are two distinct types, SHALLOW and DEEP.

One has the foundation to make you an effective learner and teammate, the other makes you dangerous!

This topic reminds me of a quote by Charles Darwin:

“There are two ways that a human can feel confident. One is knowledge, and the other is ignorance.” 

And that is precisely what happens with shallow learning. It follows this general outline:

  • We find a topic or skill we want to learn
  • We approach it with hesitancy because we are overwhelmed with how much we must learn. We are humble beginners
  • We begin absorbing great amounts of info and work to apply it in everyday life.
  • We begin to put some reps and practice under our “belt”
  • Then a crazy phenomenon happens…we have just enough reps to think we know enough about subject and we approach being falsely “overconfident”
  • Shortly thereafter, we begin hitting initial roadblocks and begin to make some mistakes
  • It’s at this point that we realize how little we actually really know and we must dive deeper into the craft

And that shift is where the true “magic” happens…That is where we begin to truly do the “DEEP WORK”.

When we embark on learning something new…we must be prepared to keep our “beginners hat” on as long as possible and not be lulled into a false sense of confidence.

Basic knowledge is just the beginning…Mastering the basics of any skill or craft is a journey that can take a lifetime.

Ask any accomplished martial artist, painter, writer, teacher, parent, etc…”Have you mastered your craft?”

I would expect to hear a chuckle, see a gleam in their eye, and hear a response resembling…”not even close”!

Embrace the deep work. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of confidence.

Approach the journey knowing its just that…a journey!

There maybe no ending.

But your about the process…So it’s all good!


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