Today's guest is Collin Jewett, industrial engineer, author, coach, adventurer, and founder of Curiosity Jump LLC. We'll chat about how to rediscover a childlike sense of adventure in everyday life.
Collin works with clients to help them become super learners. First, it's important to let go of the idea that learning has to be unpleasant or painful. People are born with the curiosity and ability to learn, but the skills become rusty.
Cultivating curiosity will open the door to thinking creatively. Creativity really is just the process of finding solutions, so supply your mind with questions. Collin also works within the imagination and the ability to vividly use all of your senses when envisioning situations and practicing skills.
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Connect with Magic:
A Magical Life Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amagicallifepodcast/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wholisticnaturalhealth/
A Subito Media production
Welcome back to a magical life. I'm your host magic Barclay. And I'm again, joined today by Colin. Now in 1 37 of this podcast, we were learning about our unique brain. And in this episode, Colin, the floor is yours. Tell us how we can become super learners.Colin Jewett:
oh man. How much time do we have? Do we have six hours? I'll do my best, So, uh, one thing I I'd love to share with your listeners, is maybe a different model of, of learning than they are familiar with, or maybe they thought of in school. So. A lot of people kind of come up with different ideas, uh, about learning and how it works as they go through. Especially if they go through what we would consider nowadays to be a traditional education system, though. It really hasn't been around for that long, which is interesting. I won't get into education, uh, history here, cuz I think that'll turn it into a six hour episode. But, um, one thing I think a lot of people, this misconception that people form around learning is learning. First of all, it's something that is. Kind of unpleasant. It's not something that you really enjoy doing for the most part. It's kind of something that you have to slog through. It's something you have to grind through. Uh, so that, I think that is, is one result of, you know, the traditional education system. If, if you were. Assigned homework that you didn't wanna do. If you had to study for tests that you just didn't really care about, or you had to take classes that you weren't interested in, all of those things, I think really over time contribute to that idea. That man learning is just not something that is fun. It's definitely not something I'd sign up for. Um, so if I have to do that, you know, that's gonna be a miserable time. And I think that, that idea, I think is one of the most co counterproductive idea. You can hold onto. I, I mean, I don't just mean about learning. I mean, about life in general, uh, because life is learning. And so if you think about learning as just being this miserable thing, well, your life, isn't gonna be very fun. There's gonna be a lot of parts of it. You just really don't enjoy. It's gonna be gray. I talked about that. And then the last episode, a little bit, how things just kinda lose their color over time. And I think that is partially. Um, can be attributed to that reframing of learning as being something that's miserable. And we don't start out that way. I think that's another important thing. Uh, like if you look at children, right when they're born, They start exploring the world immediately. Like they don't just come out and well, I mean, I guess they do have their eyes closed usually at the beginning, but, but very quickly they are looking around. They're taking things in, they're trying to figure out how their body works. They're moving around and. Without really anyone teaching them how, like in a traditional classroom setting, it's not like we immediately, uh, pop out the baby and put'em in a chair and have a lecturer standing up front, telling them, all right. Now I'm gonna teach you how to walk and how to talk and how to move your fingers and all that thing like that doesn't happen. Right. You know? Uh, so these kids, when you're born, you figure out all this stuff on your own and, and, and you. Pleasure in it. It's something that's exciting. It's something that's fun. And you can see this with kids. Like sure. They'll have frustration. Of course they'll have frustration. That's part of learning too, but it can be a healthy part but they also, they find so much pleasure in it. And you can tell this from, uh, kids want to play the same game over and over and over again. You'll hear them say again again again. and why is that? Why is that so interesting and fun to them? Well, it's because that's the engaging part of learning that, that wonder of learning that interest in the world around you. That's that, that's what you're seeing and we're born with that. It's innate. So I would consider curiosity to be one of those things. That's innate in us. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. So like from a survival standpoint, if we were born with, um, an innate disinterest in the world around. We wouldn't last very long we wouldn't learn the things that we need to survive. You know, we'd come out and we'd immediately look for some place to curl up and, and sleep for as long as we possibly could, until some horrible creature came and ate us. It wouldn't be very effective, you know? So we're born with this in eight drive to understand ourselves and understand the world around us. And I would call that curiosity. It's that it's that natural sense of wonder that we. And I think one of the reasons why we also lose that over time is because it feels less necessary. Like as you grow up, you kind of, you kind of find your rhythms, right? You find the things that work. And once you find things that work, I think, I think that's a double edged sword cuz on the one sense it's it's great. Cuz Hey, you've got things that work and that's better than things that don't work for sure. But on the other side of things, it can cause you to stop exploring, especially when paired with that, that idea, that learning is something that's miserable. You know, once you've learned enough, why learn anymore? you know, why go through that process? So I think it's really important to, to kind of hearken back to your youngest years. And maybe you can't remember'em so maybe you need to look at some, uh, find some kids and watch them for a while. Maybe if you have your own kids, this would be great, you know, pay attention to. What it is that they find. So enrapturing about the world around them because it's still there. It hasn't gone anywhere and it's not boring. It's, that's actually fascinating. I think they've got that part, right? I think our, our kids have that part, right. The world really is a beautiful, incredible, fascinating place. It's also a terrible place. It's also a terrifying place, but I. that dualistic nature, the dark side and the light side next to each other is part of what makes it so interesting. And so, I would use that, example of children, as, evidence to the fact that learning isn't something that is just inherently miserable or something that you should try to avoid, or that you're wired to avoid. I think that's also a, a really strong misconception that people are naturally. Lazy. Like if we had the option to, we would, you know, find a sofa somewhere and we'd try to just sit there and do nothing for the rest of our lives. and that's really, obviously not the case. I mean, um, one example, people could point to that people are lazy is that you see them they're on their phones all the time. And I would actually point to that as evidence of the exact opposite. I mean, the reason people are constantly scrolling through their phones is because they're addicted in a sense to novelty. They're really interested in things, and that's a really good source of new things. looking at your phone all the time. And though I think it's not the best source. Um, and it has some negative consequences, but I do think it's evidence to the fact that you know, of this truth, that all throughout human history, we. Creatures that are super interested in the world around us. And so, alright. That that'll be, uh, my, my first stopping point with curiosity. Do you have any thoughts on that?Magic Barclay:
I do. People often see curiosity as something dangerous. Like if I open that door, what if the monsters hiding behind it to eat me? But you need to look at that on the flip side. What if I open that door and something fabulous is there and something that I would never have found before will be part of my life. And I think as adults, we definitely try, well, not that we try, but we're almost conditioned, as you said to look at that darker side, same as you know, on your phone. You're not just passing time. Exactly. Right. You are. Learning something, whether you're on social media and you want to learn about what other people are doing, or you want to learn about what's going on in the world, or you want a laugh. So you want to learn how to relax and laugh at a meme or something like you're not just wasting your time on your phone. Your brain is saying, I need some information. And so listening to your brain at that point is the critical moment.Colin Jewett:
Yeah, absolutely. And, and I wanted to point point out something you said there, you talked about the, the door with the monster behind it. And I think that's an idea that I think we, there might be something innate with that too. I'm not, I'm not entirely sure about that. I know that, you know, to some extent we are biologically hardwired to be more scared of some things than others, like the dark, for example. Um, so that's kind of interesting, but as children, they also, while they're also, um, you know, enraptured by the world and they think it's amazing. They're also terrified of a lot of things. and I think rightfully so. And so I think it's important to recognize the value of both sides. Like it's, it's not, I'm not trying to say I hate the world's all rainbows roses and flowers and unicorns. Cause that's obviously not true. I mean, I think one of the basic tenets of most major religions is this idea. Life is suffering. And I think there's a reason why that idea became so prominent and was accepted because people recognize that there's a lot of truth in that there is a lot of suffering in life. And I think that might be one of the reasons why people shy away from learning. I think exactly what you said is totally true. We are aware of the fact that the world is full of darkness and there's horrible things around a lot of the corners. And so, you know, maybe one of the ways to avoid that is never to open the door, but on the flip side, If you don't open the door, what is your life? And I think we, we sacrifice the things that make life wonderful in order to avoid the things that make life miserable. And I think you kind of have to have both. I don't think there's really an option of avoiding all the misery in life and life. Staying bright. I think it diminishes, I think it becomes mundane. I think it becomes gray. I think you need. Both sides to get that contrast that makes life worth living. And, um, I think that's, it's a hard thing to come to terms with because essentially what I'm saying is that if you want to have adventure in your life, you need to accept the fact that there could be a monster behind that door, and if you open it, it might bite your face off you know, that could happen. Um, Then on the flip side, if you don't open the door, you're never gonna go on an adventure. And that's, that's a hard pill to swallow, but I think it's when you have to swallow, if you want that, that color back in your life.Magic Barclay:
Definitely. And while you were talking, I thought about walking in the rain. Many people would not wanna walk in the rain because it's uncomfortable. You know, it's wet, it's cold, it's soggy, your clothes get heavy. Your eyes might sting. But if you don't go walking in the rain, you won't see the animals come out that have been waiting for that rain. You won't see the trees, glistening and moving and colors in the leaves that you never thought would be there because the oils are releasing in the rain. So you'll never get to see the rainbow on the leaves and you'll never get to see the rainbow when the rain finishes, cuz you'll be inside your cozy, warm house being dry. So you really do have to look at both sides of life at once and weigh it up. And you know, this is not to say, go walking in the street without checking the traffic lights. Like that's just ridiculous. But when it's safe to do. A little bit of discomfort can open your world up.Colin Jewett:
Yeah, absolutely. I think, I think you can almost define learning as learning as when you're walking on the border of what you know, and what you don't know, it's exploring your territory. It's being at the edge of what's familiar. And when you're on the edge of what's familiar, that means you're also on the edge of what's unfamiliar. And so you're standing on that border between the light and the darkness. And I. When you don't do that when you just stay in the light, I mean, you might think, well, I wanna just be on the light side because that sounds a lot more pleasant. The thing is without shadow. You can't see anything you can't see any differentiation, everything loses its depth. And I think that happens. I think that's exactly what happens. Um, and, and so I wanna continue on this. We, we, the original question to this whole podcast episode does, you know, what is a super learner and how do you become a super learner? I think a super learner is somebody who runs towards that, which they are afraid of, which is necessarily that, which they don't know. And they don't that, which they don't understand. They recognize that they're afraid of it. And this goes back to, uh, something we talked about in the last episode about exposure therapy and voluntarily facing that thing that you're afraid of. I think that's what learning is. And I think that's where you feel the most alive. I think it's when you see, Hey, that's something I don't understand. And because I don't understand, and it's scary. That's darkness. That's what, the thing that you can't, you, you can't see very well yet and you have to run towards it anyway. And so this model, uh, one model that I've come up with to kind of conceptualize learning in the process starts with curiosity. And I already told, told you about that and talked about that a little bit. And the next stage is, is creativity. And I would actually say that creativity is contingent on curiosity and that you can't have creativity without curiosity. And the reason that I say that is because curiosity, to some extent you can think of it as, um, The generation of questions or the ability to generate questions or the practice of generating questions about the world around you. And those don't need to be articulated. They don't need to be, um, spoken or in words, because obviously when we're born, we're not yet thinking in words. Um, and yet we already have questions in our mind. They're just not language And so you have to have questions for creativity and the reason for that is because creativity, you can think of it as. It's the ability to come up with answers, not the answer, but the ability to come up with answers to questions. And the way that you do that is by combining different ideas, combining things that you're already aware of in new novel ways, in order to answer questions that you couldn't answer before. And so the reason that creativity is contingent upon curiosity is because if you don't have any questions, There's no reason for your brain to dev like explore answers, or try to combine things in new ways. What's the point, the way that they're already combined, the way that I already understand them is good enough for what I'm doing. But as soon as you ask a question, you admit that. That, what you know is not sufficient, that something's missing that. There's another way to see the world that you haven't seen it in yet. And that forces your brain into that mode of creativity. It forces you to think, well, maybe the way that things are combined right now is not the only way they can be combined. Maybe if I combine them a different way, things would be better or at least different, or at least interesting And so that's why it's, it's necessary to engage. With curiosity to be on that border between the light and the dark in order to have any creativity. So people who say they're not creative people there's there's can be some truth to that. There is, I mean, traits are typically normally distributed in the population, um, when it comes to like personality traits and things like that. And so there are some people who are naturally have a much higher capacity for crazy creative thinking than other people. But I think that even if you're not on that wild end of the spectrum, that tail of the normal distribution, even if you're somewhere in the middle, I think you have a much higher capacity than you probably think you do. You just stopped asking questions. You stopped charging into the dark you stopped choosing to face things that you don't understand and you're not aware of, or you're you don't know yet. You don't, you haven't figured out you haven't explored yet. And that is why you feel like you're not creative because you have no reason to be.Magic Barclay:
So we've got curiosity. We've got creativity. Is there another key to being a super learner?Colin Jewett:
So with the next stage, um, a lot of the things that I teach in terms of straight up like learning techniques, as people typically think about, about them, involve a coordination of your senses? Um, and I would call this like in internal sensory abilities. and so what I mean by this, it's not like it's not like the forest, it's not some woo woo thing. It's something you can experience right now. So if you think about like your imagination, something that you maybe haven't used a whole lot since you were a kid. So there's a lot of things that you can do. You can replicate or simulate on the inside. And I think that's, this is one of the things that makes us human is we have the ability to simulate realities or simulate possible futures. And we can let those play out and we can choose whether or not we want to pursue that potential future or. And that a ability is really important and that's how we can actually make choices around what functions of our lower brain we want to inhibit and what we wanna let express. And so you have these abilities, but a lot of them you've probably just stopped using. And I think this kind of goes along with what I'm saying. If you were. In just a familiar space, you kind of use the same tools over and over and over again. You kind of think of this as, muscles, the atrophy. If you don't use them, the muscles that you always use, very strong, very capable, and the other ones just kind of waste away and they're, you know, you don't use them anymore. Right? And so they're not very functional. I think this happens with people all the time. And so, an experiment you can run on yourself is, in your own mind, you can close your eyes. You can keep your eyes open, whatever works better for you. You can, you can try to imagine yourself in a situation, kinda like a dream. So try to imagine yourself in, in some situation, maybe you're, maybe you're running, uh, maybe you're skydiving off a cliff, maybe you're, um, I don't know, just taking a walk through a rose garden. It doesn't really matter. Try to engage all of your senses as if you were actually in that, that place. And you were actually doing those activities. And you might be surprised that some of them are, are really strong. You're like, oh, I can, I can see the details really well. I can see the colors well, and that's, by the way, there's a huge variation. I, I, I do this with people all the time and it's always wild to me, like how much variation there is in, in how people experience things internally. Um, so I would encourage you to try it yourself and, and maybe, um, talk to a friend about it and see what their experience is like. Cuz it's, it's pretty bizarre. See what you can experience through your senses. So can you see things clearly, can you see them in full color? Can you see the details? Can you zoom in, zoom out? Can you see yourself in third person or are you locked in first person? Um, can you feel things on your fingertips, on your back, on your face? Um, can you taste, can you touch, can you smell, um, all those things? How well can you do those? How well can you simulate reality inside of your. and that's a really interesting experience because you'll realize there's probably some things that you're way better at, than others. And that's probably because of how you've used them in your life. Like for example, one of my students was a, a landscape architect. And he was really, really good. at picking up on like spatial details, which makes a lot of sense. Right. He does that in his job every day. But a lot of people really struggle with that. Like, if you told him to close their eyes and, and tell you about, a room that they had been in recently, like they could tell you the shape, they could tell you where things were located. But if you ask them about the details, like, well, what color was the wall? You might be surprised at how often you don't remember what color the walls were and the place you were just in. It seems like a kind of major thing, but it's not relevant. Right. And if you're not paying attention to that kind of thing, you won't pick it up. And that ability will actually kind of atrophy over time. Um, the great thing about that is though, You can actually bring it back and it can spring back a lot faster than, than maybe an atrophy feeded muscle can. Uh, you can get those things back through practice. And the utility of that finally rounding around to those techniques I was talking about is the better you can simulate things inside your mind, the faster you can learn, if you know how to, how to use that to your advantage. So, like for example, if you wanted to learn. How to, how to surf. Let's just say surf, I've never actually gone surfing on the coast before, but but I've gone surfing behind a boat. So there's a lot of different muscle movements that are involved in learning how to surf. There's so many things you have to coordinate at the same time. And it's really difficult. A lot of people, you know, from what I've heard, they don't get up on a wave of the first day. Like they're just getting smashed over and over again and they don't really get anywhere. So if, if you're restricted to practicing surfing, only when you have the opportunity to go out there and actually get in the water, your ability to learn that skills is, is much more limited than somebody who could just practice that skill inside their head. So we have these things that are called, uh, mirror neurons. So when you watch somebody do a task, some of the neurons that would fire, when you did the task fire, when you watched them do the. That's really cool because you can actually learn from watching people. I think that's another thing that makes humans not unique, but, uh, we're really, really good at that. And so if you imagine, if you just went home and after a long day of surfing and you just watched people surf all day, that would help you now. Imagine not only were you watching people surf, but you were imagining yourself in a very high detail with feeling and sensory inputs, kind of in your mind. Actually surfing in your head, if you were able to simulate that really effect. You would find that you actually would learn much faster than somebody who wasn't doing that you'd learn faster than the person who was just watching people do that. Uh, when they got home from a long day of surfing, if they just watched other clips of other people doing it, if you could simulate it accurately and effectively in your mind, you would learn it faster because those pathways would get ingrained quicker. And so that kind of thing, I'm just, this is just a tiny piece of, of the things that you can do, but. I just wanted to give your, your listeners a taste of how you can take. So go from curiosity to creativity. Creativity is the ability to combine things in novel ways, including, uh, your senses and that sensory experience. And then actually wire those things into your brain by repeated practice internally, not just externally, cause that's much more limited. And a cool thing you can do in your brain too is speed up time. So you can practice something over and over and over and over again, really, really fast rather than having to do it in real time. So, uh, hopefully this was a little bit mind blowing to some people if they haven't thought of this before, but that's just kind of like a, a, a little taste of what I'm talking about.Magic Barclay:
Thank you for that. And yes, that was a lot of information, but there's so much more to learn. So listeners, you can get in touch with Colin on LinkedIn at Colin. So it's C O w L I N J E w E w T. And. Definitely send him a message. He can, uh, point you towards his course, which is at maven.com/curiosity, jump slash super learner. So definitely looking into becoming a super learner under Collins' guidance. Thank you again for joining us. Collin, it's been a fantastic episode. Thank you so muchColin Jewett:
for having me. It's been a.Magic Barclay:
Listeners. This was your episode, 1 38 in 1 39. We have Lucy Leo coming to talk about fueling your mind, your body and your soul listeners. Again, thank you for your time. We really do appreciate it. Go forth and create your magical life.