3 Ways to Use Doorways (Yes, Doorways) as Learning Tools

Stepping across a threshold is more than just walking. You can use doorways (yes, doorways) to help your brain learn better.
Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #525
image of a doorway symbolizing a mental threshold

Open the Doorway to New Learning

In learning a new skill that’s similar to an old skill, I use "beginner’s mind." Make your mind a blank slate. Learn the new skill from scratch. After you’ve gotten the basics, then bring in existing knowledge that can accelerate your learning. 

I’ve found that bringing in existing knowledge too soon can cause me to fall into things I already know. That interferes with the learning. For example, taking German lessons with a blank slate makes it easier to learn the grammar. Once the grammar is solid, then bringing in existing knowledge of word structure and similarities can help you speed up the learning curve. 

Here’s how you can prepare the way I did: close your eyes and imagine you’re looking through a doorway at a beautiful white room. This is the room where you build the foundation of your new skill. You’ll leave your old skills outside, so you can pick them back up when you’re done with your learning. 

When you’re about to begin a learning session, imagine stepping through the doorway into your learning room. Inside the room, imagine your brain can learn and absorb new ideas even if they conflict with your old knowledge. Every learning session, leave your old knowledge outside when you enter the room. When you’re done, mentally exit the room, keeping the new knowledge safe inside, and pick up your old knowledge again.

(You’re doing all this in your imagination. Dr. Seuss would be proud.)

Integrate Your Knowledge

As you develop more and more skill, gradually make the walls of your learning room transparent. When the skill is developed enough that you want it to start integrating into your general store of knowledge, imagine the walls fading away. Now your new knowledge can form connections to everything else you know.

Doorways are more than just portals to other dimensions inhabited by strange purple beasts with the heads of unicorns. They’re portals to other dimensions of growth and learning. Your brain uses doorways to switch events. Use this magic to program your brain so you feel the emotions you need—confidence, curiosity—when you need them. And use doorways to create a blank slate for learning new skills. Go become amazing! Shift your emotions! Learn everything! And that is how you become 100% a-DOOR-able.

I’m Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. If you’re self-employed or a small businessperson, my Get-it-Done groups can help you stay focused on what’s important, and develop the habits you need for success. Learn more at http://SteverRobbins.com. Image of doorway © Shutterstock.



About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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