June 29th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments
‘tis nobler will wait while you read the previous post. It’s about waiting, which is a nothing act pretending to be a something action. Believing in ‘nothing to do but wait’ can be the same as failing to realise that ‘waiting is doing nothing’. No buts!
You can’t delegate your waiting but waiting does involve delegation. Waiting is a form of outside assignment as you are waiting for others to do something that you can, at least in part, do yourself. It’s a mindset that says ‘If things are meant to be, if it’s your destiny or fate, then they will come to pass’:
This form of delegation is generally regarded as a negative factor in experiential learning and behavioural change, replacing self management with external control. Performance of open-loop skills, usually in complex, dynamic environments, is a continual challenge and, when things (occasionally) don’t go to plan, it is tempting to seek and supply explanations for these failures beyond ourselves. ‘It wasn’t my fault’, ‘look at what they just did’, ‘this thing doesn’t work’, ‘this is a silly way to conduct business’: these represent examples of attributional bias. As you seem to be doing what you’ve always done (importantly this assessment is always from your own perspective) when an error occurs, it must be their fault, not yours. Attributing blame to external factors is another form of delegation and another way in which you can shirk the responsibility for your own learning journey. Even though they lead nowhere, ‘outs’ are always easy to find.
However, external control does have a positive side. A study investigated whether external control assisted the grieving process and found that those who assigned cause to external factors – it was their time, that’s life etc – coped with the loss better (as measured by life satisfaction scores). ‘tis nobler is wondering whether the protective benefits of external control in the grieving process extend to error or task failure. Could something that dilutes or damages learning also offset the costs of making mistakes?
External control may be mainly a drag on learning and change but it might, just might, help you cope with the inevitable but infrequent serious failures. Is it possible to exclude ‘fate’ from learning and include ‘fate’ in coping? Providing a personal, durable answer to this question is not an outside assignment.