Make Learning Less Stressful

Many people find it challenging to separate themselves from what others may think about them. This is especially the case when it comes to learning. We can see this play out in classrooms and workplaces every day. Both children and adults are afraid to make a mistake when learning something new, and as a result they prefer not to take chances, not to speak up with new ideas, and not to stretch beyond their current comfort zone. Doing so is simply too stressful.

But consider this: generally, people are not embarrassed to make mistakes when learning a musical instrument. They don’t give up when they play a wrong note on the piano—or in my case the Great Highland Bagpipes.

The same holds true in athletics. Children and adults don’t stop playing baseball when they strike out at bat, and they don’t stop shooting basketballs at the hoop when they miss it.

When it comes to mental learning, in contrast to kinesthetic or psychomotor learning, why is it that so many people would rather not engage in the process than make a mistake and become embarrassed? A section in my education book, Discipline Without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards, is devoted to the idea of perfection and learning. The point is that you cannot learn and be perfect at the same time. Unfortunately, many aim at perfection—instead of continual improvement—and become embarrassed when they make mistakes. This is when learning becomes stressful.

A major stumbling block in learning is the idea of embarrassment. If you are afraid to make mistakes or be embarrassed, don’t expect significant improvement.

What have you done to make learning less stressful? Comment below or leave your story on the Without Stress Facebook page.


Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at