You Cannot Teach That Which You Are Unwilling To Learn - Grasshopper
We are all teachers with our lists of successes and failures. Our rate of success increases when we admit we know very little. That acknowledgement opens the flood gates to learning.
We've all heard a version of "do as I say" somewhere along the way. The words don't easily register unless there's an adequate model to follow.
"Be a man my son" are anemic words if the father's actions don't match his message. "Good girls don't do that" is an equally ineffective directive if the issuer has a history of "that."
Reminds me of a story . . .
My mother has many famous stories told about her – all very funny. This is about one of her more pointed lessons. When I was contemplating doing something, and asked her what she thought, she had an interesting way of responding. She would tell you exactly what she thought, without pulling any punches and then she would say, "You're going to do what you going to do anyway."
I don't know if she ever knew it, but her final statement made me consider her advice even more. She intuitively knew she oftentimes didn't have credibility in the area she was advising me on, but she did have an opinion. It's one I entertained more because she didn't preach it from the shallow soapbox of "I know."
There is an old axiom that says, "We teach that which we want to learn." Nowhere is that more true than in the game of golf. My business partner says that golf is the only game you can play once and then begin teaching.
My whole career, whether in broadcasting or personal development, has been about communicating. Communicating with ourselves and others is what I teach. For many years, it was something I could teach with swaggering confidence, but I was having trouble learning it myself.
I noticed that my successes came more often, the more often I didn't know. Knowing has a stiffness and staleness about it that leaves you less flexible and sounding trite.
What I found was that communication was more than an exchange of information. It was even more than listening. Real communicating is an opportunity to learn. Every encounter you have with another, or even with your own thoughts, is an opportunity to learn.
When I approach communication from that angle, I get much better results.
"Let's discover an answer together" is always better than me telling you what I know and vice versa.
Learning about yourself comes from monitoring your thoughts. Notice what your mind is thinking, independent of what you would like it to think. When you notice what's running around inside your head, you have an opportunity to learn to communicate better with yourself.
Monitoring your thoughts is like listening to a wire tap. You're not participating in the conversation, just listening as a bystander. When you take the advantage of listening without participating, you get insight into the automatic nature of your internal dialogue. This discovery leads to a natural curtailment of the dialogue, making room for something new to come in. You are making room for learning.
Learning about others was not a primary goal in my world. I thought I already knew plenty and was happy to parcel out my knowing in a one-way stream. I now affectionately call that activity "throwing up on people."
I still get sick to my stomach once in awhile, but never at the blistering rate I once did.
What I've learned is how to learn. It begins with not knowing, which creates a space for something new. The next step is to treat as many encounters as you can as learning opportunities. The best teachers are great learners. The worst ones are the ones who tell you what they know.
The unwillingness to learn will have your teachings fall on deaf ears.
What is it you would like to teach others? I'll make a wager with you. If you take the time to learn about them in the process, your teaching will reach both of you and accelerate the learning process.
Most people choose to "live and learn." That can take a long time. You can speed up the process just by turning that phrase on its ear – "learn and live."
All the best,
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