(Dis)connect with environment

What can you tweak in your environment to set conditions for learning?



Start with your Social Environment. Think of people you will interact with over the period of your learning objective. Can you set yourself up to minimize the discouraging interactions and maximize those that will give you energy. Maybe you can (re)connect with inspiring people over this period. Or you might band with other peer learners trying to learn (the same thing). You can also consider engaging your regular cheerleaders (like your mom) by letting them know asking for their (moral) support.

Set your Virtual Environment in such a way to minimize distractions and to give you reminders and motivation for your goal. Maybe setup separate social media accounts for this goal and only log in with them. Follow people that are an inspiration for your chosen objective.

Finally, consider the effect of the Natural and Built Environment. Think of light, sound, smell, temperature and aesthetics. Can you spend more time in nature? Can you change spend your learning time in a nice library, co-working or café? Maybe you need to tidy your room, even redecorate it for the occasion. Put some nice posters reminding you of your learning objective. Or it might be simpler just to go someplace else for the duration of your learning project.

Now consider these three as their effects compound the give an overall atmosphere for your attempt to become better. Find a way to connect and disconnect with your environment in such a way that the atmosphere you experience is the most supportive to your deliberate learning efforts.

Instructions for peer:

Help your peer identify what elements in their environment can help the learning and what elements can impede it. Stimulate a conversation about the creative ways in which one might arrange better conditions for a learning process.



468 visits to the same place

468. By my rough calculations, this is the number of times I biked to the same location over the course of three years. Three bike rides a week along the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail to a lookout point in Paynes Prairie State Park. It was a time of real growth in my life. I was at my first “real” job after college, working hard to prove myself in an environment that wasn’t always welcoming of my presence. My regular trips to the prairie lookout quickly became highly invaluable, for they served as a source of inspiration, a physical release, and an escape from my human-made office surroundings. Sitting and watching the sunset over the prairie, I would observe the gradual entrance of nighttime and, over the long term, the changes of the prairie itself. In many ways, this patience and calm I learned from the natural environment allowed me to honor the incremental change I was making in my professional life in the world of twenty-first-century capitalism, despite how slow it sometimes felt. Equally important, this hour or two would allow the ideas and work of the day to sink in. Had I gone straight home, I might have easily become distracted with other tasks. Returning to the same place each time signaled that I was back to my spot, and my brain would automatically relax, release, and reflect.

Unplugging (Pattern #78 in Change Here Now – Adam Brock)

“In a world where connection and meaning are increasingly mediated by motors and touchscreens, we must make a conscious effort to remove ourselves from these influences on a regular basis to stay fully human.”

Commitment Pruning (Pattern #79 in Change Here Now – Adam Brock)

“Take time to reflect on the projects and people that you’re invested in, and don’t be afraid to cut back those commitments that are no longer serving you. Take time to reflect on the projects and people that you’re invested in, and don’t be afraid to cut back those commitments that are no longer serving you.”

Climates of Self-Direction and Inquiry –  Self-Direction for Lifelong Learning, Candy, pag. 390-393