Becoming a ‘learn it all’ vs. a ‘know it all’

In this interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, it becomes clear that one of the best abilities to possess is the personal and professional intrinsic desire to be a ‘learn-it-all’ instead of a ‘know-it-all’. At Clay we think this is a very interesting way of approaching a company’s culture: Where employees are encouraged to make mistakes resulting in a faster learning curve and a creative mind.

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, which he initially was reading in regards to his children’s education, has inspired Satya Nadella to look at Microsoft in a different way. Dweck, professor in psychology at Stanford University, states in her book that people with a fixed mindset (the know-it-alls; those who believe that abilities are fixed) are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset (the Learn-it-alls; those who believe that abilities can be developed). This is probably the reason why failure is embraced in companies that are performing surprisingly (for some) well.

To become a ‘learn-it-all’ you need to get used to the fact you will be wrong at times and you will make mistakes along the way. You will have to come up with hypothesizes and challenge them by putting them into practice. Unlearning what now is irrelevant and relearning what is, is also a big part of becoming a proper 'learn-it-all'.

Basically you need to grow from a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, you can achieve this by:

  • Recognizing that annoying voice in your head: Your inner critic

  • Trust that you have a say in interpreting this inner critic

  • Choose how to react to challenges and setbacks, try to think ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t’

To be able to actually reach your full potential sounds nice. But is this something worth chasing if it isn’t necessarily true? Is anybody ever really capable of reaching their full potential, and by the time they do, wouldn't it be a shame the eagerness to learn most likely would be vanished.

Trying to have the outlook of a student at all times rather than an expert is a smart and healthy mental state of living to pursue. Pretending to know it all can set you up for failure in the long run, and is by all means exhausting. You will trick your brain into believing it’s already filled with all the necessary knowledge, and that learning is completely off the table.

Always keep learning and therefore evolving, professional as well as personal, so you automatically lift everyone around you to a higher level.

At Clay we all are 'learn-it-all’s': We are encouraged to ask questions and not to take the easy road just because it’s paved.

Would you like to work in an environment where it’s applauded to question the known? #becomeabrick and change the way you think, ask questions and work: Apply now!