“One of the things that has astonished me is the realization of how much my emotional state influences what I can know.”

From when we start school, from the beginning, learning is a very serious thing. It becomes separated from play and becomes attached to results.

We come to think that this is obvious, that education MUST be serious. In reality, this way of seeing things is merely a trend of our time. It is a way of thinking that we have created, and therefore, doesn’t need to be that way.

Learning is devoid of joy because the trend of our time is to make a distinction between learning and emotions—between the outer and the inner. The focus of our learning is the outside world. We learn numbers and information, and we learn how to predict and control. And all of this is aimed towards manipulating and understanding what is around us. What is inside us is abandoned. All of that which is emotional and spiritual, everything that has to do with purpose, meaning, and values, all of this is left out. All of that is not part of what we call “learning.”

One of the things that has astonished me is the realization of how much my emotional state influences what I can know. Knowing is not just about intellectual information, but also, the emotional state with which I engage with that information.

For example, in our era, knowing is connected with prediction and control. It is no wonder why technology predominates. For centuries writers and thinkers have talked about humans controlling nature and so our actions today continue in that emotional “drift.” Today, we are realizing that if we don’t change that drift, it will be very difficult to fix the problems we have created in our environment. We realize the need to dance and coordinate with our ecosystem rather than control it. This shift in the emotional way we approach our knowledge of the ecosystem changes what we can know about it.

Another example is how a person who learns from resentment will almost always want to take advantage of others or seek revenge. If a person learns from a place of gratitude, however, they will want to share and express solidarity. These two are very different places from which to know about the world.

Knowing in our time is associated with the emotions of gravity and ambition. What happens if we shift that and associate it with gratitude and lightness?

In our program, we bring the interior world into the space of learning. We give ourselves permission to laugh and cry, to celebrate and dance. When invite our emotional world to participate, we find ourselves and the joy of learning appears.

Joy in learning is not a “strategy.” It emerges from gratitude, the emotion that is at the core of our learning program. When learning is based on things such as entitlement and we feel we “should” be receiving something, the gift of learning is no longer a cause for celebration. Gratitude allows us to celebrate what we receive.

Want to learn more about our course offerings? Check out our Foundation Course for transformative personal development and the first step towards becoming a Certified Coach.

About the Author: 

Julio Olalla, MCC, founder of Newfield Network, is regarded as a pioneer of the coaching profession and transformational learning fields. Julio has trained thousands of individuals and organizations, CEOs, and government figureheads to challenge traditional thinking and create stronger leaders to navigate the turbulence facing our global community. He is based in Boulder, Colorado with a travel schedule that takes him worldwide. His multi-cultural perspective makes him an in-demand, trusted advisor of Fortune 500 companies, international governments, and high-profile individuals. Julio Olalla is a sought-after keynote and motivational speaker, addressing audiences on leadership, organizational learning, education, emotion, and executive coaching.

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