You may think your brain is all hardwired. And that you're supremely suited for learning.
But in fact, your brain is incredibly at the mercy of the sound environment. And the reason for being at the mercy of sound is because most of our early references as children are purely based on sound. This early period is known as the ‘critical learning period'.
In this ‘critical learning period' when the brain hears a set of sounds, it sets up a language processor
What this means is that the brain is creating a language out of seemingly meaningless sounds. To a child, the words ‘how are you?' are quite the same as ‘bookie boo?' At first the sounds don't make any sense whatsoever. But over time, the brain learns to segregate the sounds, as it stores more data in the language processor.
This language processing behaviour can easily be taken over by ‘evil forces'.
You could confuse a brain with disturbing sounds—like the sound of a noisy fan. Or the thundering sound of planes taking off. Or even worse, the sound of meaningless noise being thrown at the child.
Most of us are like children when we're learning a new skill
Even as adult we're at the mercy of sound. When we're learning a skill (our critical learning period), if we are encouraged by the teacher, we start to learn a lot better. When on the other hand we hear disturbing sounds the ability to learn goes down. So if the teacher discourages you, or tells you that you can't really move ahead because you're not ‘talented', you start to believe in the sounds. Your critical learning period is filled with noise.
Your brain literally sets the processor into action, and your learning in that specific task becomes slower—often retarded. It feels as if you're stuck in room with a noisy fan. Nothing seems to make sense. And this is where most folks give up learning.
So why don't two year olds give up when faced with learning as many as five languages simultaneously?
Two year old kids don't give up because they are almost always encouraged to speak; to learn; to walk; to dance; to draw. While they are no longer solely dependent on sound alone, encouragement plays a critical role in their development. Plus they can't fathom what's important or necessary at that age. So they learn pretty much everything that's thrown at them. And sound plays an incredibly important role in the process of getting better at a skill.
Which is why trainers, consultants and teachers need to be careful with the sounds they make…
The right sound of encouragement doesn't just work on a two-year old kid. It works just as well on a seventy-year old man or woman. And the reason I'm telling you this, is because I used to only use the power of critique. I'd often tell people what was wrong with their website or with their marketing strategy. Then one day I learned the power of sound. Of how to critique as well as praise.
And the very same clients improved in leaps and bounds.
And it all boiled down to sound.
You may believe talent matters. Suspend that belief.
You may believe some people are smarter than others. Suspend that belief, if only for a while.
Instead use the power of sound. Because as you use the sound of encouragement, it creates that language processor in the brain.
Your job is not to judge the client/student/customer. Your job is to create a language processor of achievement in their brains. And help them get through the ‘critical learning period' with a little help here, a little nudge there.
Then watch as a student learns quickly. And confidently!
P.S. This concept of sound is just as valid for you when you're learning a new skill. The more you talk yourself into believing in talent and luck, the less talented and lucky you'll be. Get yourself a good teacher. One who recognises the value of sound and language processing 🙂