Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Fear Affects Learning

Lessons Juggling CroppedWithin our Learning Workshops we teach participants to juggle as a way of applying a new Learning Model (Tony Buzan).  Most people think that they cannot juggle, so we use juggling as a way to show them they can do a thing they formerly thought impossible!  Sneaky, huh?  Somehow when picking up three balls to get started that subliminal message rises to the top of their thinking, so that instead of saying, “I think I can, I think I can” like the infamous little ‘choo choo train that could’; we say automatically, “I can’t!”

“If you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t; you are right.” – Henry Ford

I remember vividly that day in August 1994 when I first had an opportunity to learn to juggle. I was excited and discouraged at the same time, because I had bought into that subliminal self-programming, “You can’t juggle”.  And therefore, I could not.  I was so tense that I was cramping up in my neck and back.  I really wanted to be able to have the ability, but the results were slow coming.  It wasn’t until I decided to STOP; take a deep breath; determine that the world would not come to an end if I could not juggle-therefore why was I so tense?!  So I picked up the 3 balls again and began to toss them one at a time creating the toss pattern and rhythm just as I was instructed.  Aha, I began to get a “feel’ for the rhythm.  I did not complete a full cycle yet, but I gained confidence in this new relaxed state and began to have optimism and even more fun.

I continued to practice my toss and make adjustments: focusing on the process of juggling rather than the results (catching).  Eventually, I broke through and was able to complete one cycle plus one toss and catch…..and the process continued until eventually I would be up to 34 tosses and successful catches, and so on.

Michael Gelb, fellow Buzan Instructor and Master Juggler dedicates a full chapter in his book, Lessons from the Art of Juggling, to the Art of Relaxed Concentration.  In it he outlines the process of students tensing up when they first begin juggling three balls.  He asks the class “to bring their awareness to their breathing and body/mind state.  They are often amazed to discover how much a simple thought has caused them to contract.  We point out that their fear-based “psychophysical preconception” has become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.”

What new thing would you like to learn today or have given up on learning because of this  fear-based thinking?  Whatever the skill or goal may be, please do yourself a favor and begin with a good model (Michael Gelb is a great resource for juggling).  Your model will be based on your learning style (audio/visual/kinesthetic); be mindful of your stress factor; take a deep breath; RELAX, and give it a go!

List your experience in the comments section.


Wise-up Wednesday: The Link Between the Art of Juggling Balls and Tasks


Juggling is a task most people believe they cannot accomplish.  It seems so complicated or athletic or requires too much coordination.

I have watched many men and women give it a go real time in the Radiant Learning workshops I conduct.  Many will even say out loud, “I can’t juggle!”  Many make pitiful attempts and either laugh, cry (not really), or get frustrated.  Those who are most frustrated are those who thought they could juggle, even though they did not have a clue HOW to juggle.  There is a process to follow that ensures success over time with practice and process improvement.

Often times we take on tasks the way we take on those juggling balls for the first time.  We pick up so many tasks but are not certain what order to start them.  Sometimes we take them as we get them rather than stepping back to evaluate the best process. Which task is most important? Which requires the most time?

Just as there is a simple pattern (process) and rhythm to the art of juggling balls, there is also a process and rhythm with tasks.  Learn to apply the art of juggling to your everyday.

A great resource from my mentor and creator of Mind Maps, Tony Buzan, is the book Lessons from the Art of Juggling: How to Achieve Your Full Potential in Business, Learning, and Life. 

Wise-up Wednesday: Juggling

Wise-up Wednesday Brain Byte: Juggling

Did you know that there are actually only two moves to learn to juggle 3 balls?

Most of us are defeated before we even start learning to juggle. The defeat comes in the mind before any actual attempt. I know this because I have taught thousands “how to” juggle and when asked to do a benchmark prior, most say, “I can’t”.

Henry Ford put it well, “If you think you can do a thing or you cannot – you are right.”

Most often we are defeated in our minds before we even learn “how to” do a thing. How can you juggle successfully if you do not have the proper method? It is rather simple once you know how. Really! But don’t just keep throwing the balls without the proper method or you will create a bad habit!

For a great book with juggling methods, and much more, check out Lessons From the Art of Juggling by Michael Gelb and Tony Buzan.

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