At Trevor Ragan’s Train Ugly workshop, he teaches about learning using the analogy of a tiger. Ragan maintains that people have the choice to be either a “Zoo Tiger” or a “Jungle Tiger” and which version they choose determines their capacity for learning.

A Zoo Tiger has an easy life and lives safely in a cage, but because of his comforts and limited struggles, the Zoo Tiger does not have the ability to hunt and has not developed the skills to survive in the wild. Ragan contrasts this with the Jungle Tiger whose life is comparatively quite hard, but because of his struggles has developed many skills that serve him well.

Ragan believes that our comfort zone is the human equivalent of a cage, and by choosing to remain within this safe space we are effectively keeping ourselves in a cage and not fully learning. (He illustrates this concept in a quirky 5-minute video here.)  “People learn best when they are challenged to the edge of their ability and stressed just outside their comfort zone,” he says.

Think about the kind of tiger you are. Have you unintentionally remained in the safe limitations of the zoo? Pledge to overcome your fears and resistance to see challenges as opportunities to learn and set yourself free.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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