Training, like psychology, has a legacy of inherent pessimism. Both were built on the core belief that people are deficient or dysfunctional.
Psychologists spend most of their time studying people who are “disturbed.” Then they generalize their findings from these fringe cases to normal people. Hence, the psychological literature is filled with neuroses, diagnostics, therapy, and cures, but precious little on making people who are generally okay feel better.
Similarly, most training treats people as though they were missing something. The trainees need content or performance support or a new skill because without it, they are sub-par. Given what we’d like them to do, the trainees have yet to make the grade.
Recently, a group of renegade psychologists founded the positive psychology movement. The positivists study well-adjusted people rather than nut cases. They focus on making healhy people healthier.
Learning can benefit by following suit. Optmism works better than pessimism. Optmism encourages one to test assumptions until proven wrong rather than eliminate them out of hand on the assumption that they wouldn’t work anyway.
What might we expect by starting out on a positive plane?
The consequences of assuming the role of training is to fix what’s broken rather than make what’s good better have been holding us back:
What do you think? Am I on to something here? Or is this just wishful thinking on a beautiful, sunny Spring day?
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