10 Obstacles That Prevent Positive Transformation and How to Overcome Them


By Chris Majer 


Transformative learning is challenging and takes place only through practice, patience, and perseverance. Indeed, these three qualities are the hallmarks of a committed learner. The only way to embody a new competence is through recurrent practice, which takes time and requires patience. The committed learner must continue to practice, persevering through doubt, weariness, negative assessment and the occasional rotten mood.

Consider these tips on how to effectively deal with forces that prevent learning and, thus, transformative forward momentum.

1. Being blind to your blindness.

We all have blind spots. These are normal, natural, and common, but they limit us. Books, lectures, and recordings can help us see new possibilities for learning, as can asking a friend or co-worker for an honest assessment of our actions. The number one enemy of learning is “knowing,” or more precisely, the assumption of knowing, which can readily render you visionless. Recalibrating the lens through which you view the world, and your understanding of it, and actively seeking new knowledge, opinions and insights is a key to opening a wealth of possibility.

2. The desire to be comfortable.

Comfort is a formidable enemy. When confronted with new ideas, most people react strongly…and not in a favorable, amenable way. When our familiar patterns, associations, and responses are challenged, we tend to respond with fear and anger. Because our minds cling to stability and predictability, we tend to judge something new as “dangerous” or “disruptive.” Everyone is seemingly in favor of learning, though as long as it doesn’t mean them and it doesn’t mean now.   The array of excuses, dodges, and delays we toss out can be astonishing. In short, beware of the perfectly natural desire for comfort. Unfortunately, comfort and authentic learning are mutually exclusive. Simply put, you must get out of your comfort zone to transcend.

3. The insistence on understanding everything all the time.

Any new idea or practice seems difficult, complicated, and unclear simply by virtue of it being new. Along with our desire for comfort and safety, we also crave understanding, falling prey to the notion that clarity yields safety and certainty. When an unfamiliar situation lacks clarity, we tend to label the agents of change as “wrong.” “If the coach really knew what he was talking about,” the quarterback grumbles after practice, “then this new offense wouldn’t be so confusing.” “If this is so great, then it should be easy to understand.” In both instances, a person grants himself permission to dismiss the new practice and retreat into the security of the familiar. That withdrawal closes the possibility for learning.


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About the Author

flag-usapmwj16-nov2013-majer-AUTHOR IMAGEChris Majer


Chris Majer is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Human Potential Project and the author of “The Power to Transform: Passion, Power, and Purpose in Daily Life” (Rodale), which teaches the strategies corporate, military, and sports leaders have used to positively transform themselves and their organizations in a way readers can adept to their own lives and professions. He may be reached at www.humanpotentialproject.com.