It’s fascinating to, well uh, learn that the concept of a “Learning Curve” was born way back in 1885 when it was introduced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus.
That crunching noise you hear is the sound of us abruptly reaching the end of it 132 years later.
Ebbinghaus’s Learning Curve compared the increase in learning when measured over a span of time. Differences in said increase and the length of time accounted for variances in the shape of the curve; a somewhat obvious conclusion, if you ask me.
Point here is that no matter what shape the curve takes, “learning” is only half the goal these days, when there is more than ever to learn and more ways than ever to learn it (this is something I am currently experiencing first-hand as Play The Future enters the American market). Despite the abundance of information, it seems harder than ever to actually learn something. Quel paradoxe!
The brain is a wondrous tool, but it’s capacity is somewhat limited.
Unlike techno farms at Google and Amazon, we can’t just toss another rack of servers on our backs and plug ‘em into our heads. With learning curves getting steeper, and the noise driving them up getting louder, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to expand our cranial capacity and “learn” the new that’s necessary for us to advance
Which is why I like the concept of a “Forgetting Curve”...
...the “7-Up” to the learning curve’s cola (reference check for millennials: right here).
Frankly, a “Forgetting Curve” already exists (see Wikipedia), but it’s more medical in theory, hypothesizing the decline of memory retention over time. It may be insensitive on my part, but let’s just ignore that one.
The “Forgetting Curve” I am championing though is way more self managing and practical. It would require--no, force--us to let go of old ways, preconceived notions, out-of-date processes and deeply-ingrained predispositions.
And while it’s almost impossible to un-think an idea (i.e. wipe it out of your organic memory), a more attainable feat is to ignore things, or at least close your eyes and turn your back on them before moving on in a new direction. This process may not eliminate learning curves, but at least it makes their gradients easier to climb.
So (hahaha) remember this: a little forgetting will go a long way in learning something new, and set you on a new path...of straight and narrow.