Feeling vulnerable

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Want to learn quickly? Be vulnerable.

How are vulnerability and learning connected? Being vulnerable, making mistakes and learning all go together. Being vulnerable means relinquishing control over outcomes. It means taking action towards your goal even when you don’t feel 100% ready. It means allowing yourself to make mistakes – which is how we learn and build skills needed to achieve our goals. Would you be willing to show your vulnerable side if you knew that doing so is the quickest route to achieving success?

Vulnerability is necessary for learning.

While it’s nice to have high standards, until you allow yourself to make mistakes, you will likely be reluctant to start working on your goal. The more vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the greater likelihood you’ll take action.  Learning happens when the outcome is not as expected. Psychologists call this prediction error. When the outcome of your action is not as you predicted, your brain has gained information that it can use to help you take corrective action on your next attempt. This helps you build the skills you need in order to improve. As Alison Pearce Stevens wrote in “Mistakes: a key to learning”, making mistakes helps you learn faster. Put another way: in order to learn, you need to allow yourself to make mistakes, which in turn requires a willingness to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability requires self-compassion.

Healthy vulnerability happens when you’re not too hard on yourself if you’ve made a mistake. Part of being human includes making mistakes and learning from them. When you forgive your missteps, you’re being compassionate with yourself. If you demand perfection of yourself, are you telling yourself that if you make a mistake, there’s something wrong with you? When facing your fears is already challenging enough, why add self-judgement on top of it?

The more you learn, the sooner you’ll succeed.

The more skills you build along your journey to your goal, the greater your likelihood of success. Each time you courageously push forward, you get a little bit closer to achieving your goal. Vulnerability, self-compassion, learning from experiences and building skills form a healthy pathway to your success while you’re expanding your comfort zone and supporting your efforts along the way. Soon you’ll benefit not only from accomplishing your goal, but also from the wealth of knowledge and skills you’ve amassed along the way.

What will you accomplish next?

What's Next?

Image by vchal (iStock)

  • Araz
    Posted at 14:38h, 03 June Reply

    Yes, this is a very timely post as I’m facing a new challenge at work that I am certain requires me to be vulnerable & relinquish control in order to be successful. Thanks for the good advice!

    • mona
      Posted at 22:37h, 03 June Reply

      Hi Araz, that is great to hear that the post’s message was timely for you. Being vulnerable and giving up control can be difficult, but have great potential to reward us later. All the best with your work challenge!

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