iii. Common Pitfalls


 “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you've built against it.”~ Sufi poet, Rumi.

Here, I want to point out common pitfalls and barriers that we come up against as Deep Learners. 

Consistency vs. Intensity

- Value consistency over intensity, direction over speed.

- As you can tell by the design of this web-based workshop, it isn’t a chunk of information thrown at you. It’s “drip-by-drip.” Go through each of the 4 sections, one module at a time. And see what you can integrate into your learning and practice habits.

- Keep the Deep Learner course as a bookmark on your browser, so that you can revisit any of the Sections/Modules at any point in time.


Below are specific pitfalls to watch out for based on the 4 sections of Deep Learner.


Module 1: The Arrow of Time

Pitfall: "Deep learning time gets negated, attention gets too diffused."

- This is by far, the biggest challenge of protecting your time.

- Make sure you have blocked deep learning time in your schedule.

- Preferably, keep this in your work time. 

- Also partition shallow work time in your daily schedule too.

Pitfall: No Play

- Remember, according to the play expert Stuart Brown, the lack of play is as serious as mal-nutrition.

Module 2: Direction and Depth

Pitfall: "Lack of systematically tracking client outcomes."

- We talked about this in our book, Better Results. One of the best things you can do is to start using outcome measures to guide your work as a practitioner. 

- Use measures “one session at a time,” and “one client at a time,” and you’d be able to find out your performance baseline (“one therapist at a time”).


Modules 3: A Learning System

Pitfall: "Failure to rely on a long-term system to capture knowledge."

- Make sure you make note-taking a part of your habit. The pay-off is HUGE.

- Don’t get hung up on getting the “right tools” for note-taking and not getting started. Oftentimes, the one that you are already using would suffice! If not, defer to simpler tools as a general rule (which is why I use Simplenote).

Module 4: Knowledge Centralisation.

Pitfall: "Too many note-taking apps and notebooks."

- In order to truly benefit from the powers of note-taking, start to “centralise” one location to store all your notes, instead of dispersing them across places.


Module 5. The Forgetting Curve

Pitfall: "An over-emphasis of collecting information as opposed to testing oneself with retrieval practice."

- This one’s tricky. We much rather gather new information than to “retrieve” what we have. 

- Make it a weekly habit to go through your centralised note-taking place to do some retrievel practice.

Module 6. The Fluency Illusion

Pitfall: "Conflating a sense of fluency with competency."

- In order to combat the fluency illusion, consider slowing down. Because becoming truly competent requires the interjection of things like testing yourself, elaboration, and then note-taking. Travel at the speed of learning, and not at the speed of light.


Module 7: Collecting and Connecting the Dots

Pitfall: "Accepting conventions without pushing to make unusual connections."

- Be deliberate about joining the dots of disparate pieces of information. These connections are the stuff of gold, more than the new knowledge that you acquire.

Module 8: The “Holy Grail of Deep Learning: Transfer of Learning

Pitfall: "A lack of higher order thinking and not extracting principles, and the risk of getting rigidified when we don’t stress-test our assumptions built in our principles." 

- These is a reason why cognitive scientists have called transfer of learning as the “holy grail.” That’s because it’s hard! 

- Think in priniciples, extract them from examples and analogies, and then test them out in the real-world. Seek advice from coaches/supervisors about these principles.