The Learning Hump – Can You Get Over It?

In 99% of learning processes in life, there is what we call the learning ‘hump‘. It is largely known in the tech world – in the language of coders and software developers. However, the ‘hump’ applies to all learning, from dabbling in languages to mastering the piano.

So what is the hump? Say you have a hill. One side of the hill has a start point, it is very, very steep. The other side has a never-ending descent. At the top of the hill is a hump.

Now, when you are learning, you are climbing that first side of the hill – the very, very steep incline. The hump that you reach at the top, if you last that long, represents the most difficult period of your learning phase – and it’s where most people give up. But, just the other side of that hump, is the other side of the hill. And the other side of the hill is the easy, never-ending descent. It is the point where learning becomes fun, it becomes almost effortless.

Let’s translate this to real-life learning then:

You decide you want to learn Spanish. So you see the task ahead – call this the ‘hill’. You think you can do it, “how hard can it be!??”. So you start taking Spanish lessons on your laptop – your start your ascent up the ‘hill’. 2 weeks in and you’ve been at it 2 hours a day, but now your progress is slowing a little, maybe it’s getting harder to remember the phrases. Now you are the midpoint of the hill, not far from the top. But you keep plugging away – you keep climbing…

2 months down the line, you start to get frustrated with your progress. “No es muy bueno”, is the only sentence you can pronounce properly. The difficulty is high, and you are on the verge of giving up – you are now at the start of the ‘hump’. What you do from here is your choice…

It is the most consequential decision, and it ultimately is the most important point of your learning process. You can give up, and take a rather fast, easy descent back to the bottom. Or, you can stick it out for maybe another month, get over that difficult period, and learning ~Spanish then becomes fun, it is easy, almost effortless. You start to enjoy them 2 hours a day. You even start attending Spanish workshops. You meet Spanish people. You practically become a Spaniard!

The ‘hump’ shows up in other areas of life as well, not just learning. Although it isnt so obvious. Say you are thinking about your first ever business endeavour. You have been thinking about it for months, you have all the data, all the plans – you are approaching the hump. You have never had your own business before, and are fearful of that first step. The first step,  is the one that gets the ball rolling. You may mistakes, you may get things wrong, but you are over the hump. Most of your business decisions from this point will never be as difficult as that first one.

It can be applied to learning, to fitness, to business, to relationships. The ‘hump’ is always there.

So what’s it gonna’ be? Are you going to get over the hump?…


If you liked this, you may like How to Get Started in Business – Start Small.


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