I must admit it. I have been struggling for a while now with CoZoLo. But I’m lucky to have social media available these days. I can simply share my concerns and assistance is always available 24/7 from every conceivable corner of the world. So I’m counting on you! Oh yes, let me first explain what CoZoLo is. ‘CoZo’ stands for Comfort Zone and ‘Lo’ for Logic. My struggle involves the logic behind how one’s comfort zone is related to learning. I often hear and read about how it is necessary to go “outside the comfort zone” to learn something. Otherwise, many insist, there will be no learning at all. I even heard one learning and development lecturer from a university preaches that “real learning has to hurt”. I was even more surprised when I recently heard someone’s vision regarding talent development for the new generation at work. I will repeat it in my own words: “the generation now entering leadership positions has always lived an easy life, always had a lot of attention and positive feedback from their parents and at school. Before they take a leadership role they first have to do some very tough self-analysis”. I don’t agree with this assessment. Throughout my intensive work with a lot of young leaders I am often surprised by all the tough situations in both their work and private lives these people have experienced and survived.
Logic and Raccoons
So some say “real learning must hurt”, “for real learning you definitely need to go outside of your comfort zone”, and “for real learning the shit has to hit the fan (and YOU have to clean up the mess)”. But now let’s look at the Logic part of CoZoLo. Sure, I have had my own experiences where I learned from painful situations. I also challenge learners to stretch and experiment with behavior that feels unnatural at the start but might be more effective in the end. I have even named my company ‘Challenge Stretching Talent’! But even if learning sometimes hurts, it doesn’t mean that pain is a prerequisite for learning, does it? Let’s learn something from the famous Dutch soccer player Johan Cruijff, who sometimes comes up with nice philosophic quotes. He once said, “every raccoon has a tail but not every tail has a raccoon”. I think this is also true for the relationship between pain and learning. Sometimes learning might be painful but that’s no reason to create painful situations in order to facilitate learning. I think that pain is sometimes just a side effect of learning. For me, it is an undesirable side effect, and sometimes an unavoidable inconvenience created by poor lesson design. But I’m not absolutely sure either. I strive to achieve the ‘Flow approach’ of Csikszentmihalyi, I search for Vygotsky’s ‘Zone of Proximal Development’, I like to discuss Pink’s Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose to find other learners’ ‘optimal drive’ for learning, I try to be a ‘midwife for knowledge’ as I learned from Socrates and I’m a believer in the Growth Mindset of Dweck.
But I need you to help me out and clarify this issue. What is your idea? I turn to you in person and hope you’ll post your answer as a comment. I’m asking YOU: (in alphabetical order)
Allison Michels, how does this work for social learning using platforms like Yammer?
Shlomo Ben Hur, will you discuss this topic during the new IMD Organizational Learning in Action program?
Bob Mosher, what’s your idea from this dicussion when focussing on performance support?
Chan Lee, please explain the South Korean perspective and the relationship with ‘the hungry mind’.
Charles Jennings, please shed a light on this discussion through the 70:20:10 lens and invite the members of the new 70:20:10 forum to join the discussion
Craig Taylor, I’d love to hear your opinion based on your experiences in the army. Is it possible to train without pain to prepare for life threatening situations?
Dan Pink, can you think of a combination of pain mixed with autonomy, mastery and purpose for great learning results?
Dan Pontefract, can you please comment on the discussion from your flat army perspective?
David Kelly, is there any answer to this question somewhere hidden in your magnificent cuarated backchannel resources?
David Zinger, what is your opinion from a employee engagement standpoint (and feel free to engage all participants of your great employee engagement community)
Denise Hudson Lawson, can you inform us a bit on how this works in a political environment from your work experiences at the Houses of Parliament in the UK?
Donald Clarck, where can we find the answer in your excellent blog marathon of 50 posts on learning theorists?
Donald Taylor, please share your ideas on this topic from your specific postion: you are the center of the UK L+D community.
Elke Wambacq, you’re a courageous, innovative HR expert renewing some Belgium Governmental services, please comment from that experience.
Greet Pipijn, I’m sure you’ll have some ideas from your Emotional Intelligence expertise, please tell us about it.
Hannelore Calmeyn, I’m curious about ‘the official standpoint’ of the Belgium L&D Community, can you share some thoughts as VOV Director please?
Hallely Azulay, I’m very curious about the implication on this topic when you focus on Employee Development on a Shoestring. I count on your creative ideas.
Hans de Zwart, what happens when employees apply self directed learning: will they be able to stretch enough for optimal learning?
Ira Chaleff, what are your thought on this topics in relationship to the Courageous Follower, please let me know
Jane Bozarth, what is your – always bright and sharp – Positive Deviant idea on this?
Jay Cross, how does this comfort zone stuff relate to informal learning?
Jeanne Meister, how will this theme evolve looking at all these different generations working together in the 2020 Workplace?
Karl Kapp, I have this idea that Gamification could be the oppositeway of learning where pleasure instead of pain is related to stretching the boundaries of the comfortzone, please tell us more about that
Kate Graham, what did you discover as a professional learningeventtwitterexpert and from mylearningworx?
Laura Overton, I’m so glad you research the ‘toxicating’ effect of compliance training on learning, can you please share some findings from that perspective? And is there a relationship between pain and learning when you want to grow Towards Maturity?
Lesley Price + Lisa Goldstein, you share so many great resources and did so many nice interviews with L&D pro’s at ldglobalevents, did you find any clues about the relationship between pain and learning in all these nice conversations?
Lisa Johnson, I think in your work at Barnardo’s learning is an important way to reduce suffering and pain. I’m curious about your story.
Marlo Kengen, what is your opinion as a lecturer in L&D focussed on the connection between research and the L&D bachelor curriculum of HAN University?
Martin Couzins, how are your learningpatches related to the comfortzone?
Masako Kato, could you please as an expert in international cultures give some examples how the relationship between pain and learning are experienced in different cultures. You know there are Many Truths ( a beautiful name for your company on intercultural management)
Mike Collins, please share some thoughts on this from your learning asylum
Mike Prokopeak, we like to hear your comments from the CLO magazine perspective
Niall Gavin, you’re a wise man with impressive L&D expertise but this time I prefer your opinion from your background as a professional actor (and tell us a lot about a little topic)
Nick van Dam, looking at Deloitte ‘s new University the company invests a lot in comfort in relationship to learning. Can you as CLO please tell us more about how this fits with Deloitte’s vision on learning? And ‘don’t hesitate, feel free to promote the great work of your ‘e-learning for kids’ foundation
Nigel Paine, I’m sure you‘ll prefer the slogan ‘No Paine, No Gain’ so what’s your always enthusiastic opinion?
Owen Ferguson, please share some thoughts from the Scottish perspective.
Paul Matthews, can we find any clues in your new book on Informal Learning at work?
Paul Rasmussen, maybe there’s an answer somewhere in your great posts?
Reader, if not mentioned in this post, this invitation is special for you: please share your thoughts and comments.
Remco Mostertman, please share some ideas from your perspective as an expert in building (HR) Communities
Steve Wheeler, what is the relationship between pain and learning with ‘e’s ?
Thomas Lang, when I attended your drumclinic in Eindhoven last year you shared so many interesting things about learning from your experience as a top drummer. What is your opinion on this topic? (watch this video)
Tom Spiglanin, you always share nice visions on learning, hope you’ll share some here.
Valery Noll, as the great curator of The Learning Explorer, what is your top story in relationship with this topic?
Wei Wang, hope you will share some thought from your overview as ASTD’s Director International Relations and maybe from ASTD ICE 2013