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How we learn

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There are many ways to learn. We can make a guess based on a hunch or intuition. We can take some action to test a hypothesis, the results telling us whether or not we guessed correctly. When we do this, we learn that what we believed was either true or false. Either way, we learn.

Sometimes, instead of taking an educated guess, we just go ahead and take some action with absolutely no idea if what we are doing is right or will work. We throw something at the wall to see if it will stick. Something happens, and sometimes that something is nothing. If we’re smart enough to pay attention, we may make some observations about what happened — or what didn’t. And we learn from the experience.

Often something happens, and we just happen to be there when it does. We recognize what has happened and learn from that observation without having to experience it for ourselves.

This is where insight comes from. Sometimes we have enough experience and situational knowledge to come up with a theory and test it. Sometimes we need to just throw something against the wall. And sometimes we’re able to pay close enough attention to what is going on around us to notice something new and unexpected.

And this is how we learn.

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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go