“The things we know best are things we haven’t been taught.”
—Luc de Clapiers, 18th Century Marquis de Vauvenargues
My first career, fresh out of college, was as a teacher. It was my belief at the time that it was my job to literally pour my knowledge of life science into the minds of 25 sixth grade students. What I discovered was that very little got in, and even less of my brilliant lessons stuck for more than a week or two.
One of my fascinations over the years, and particularly since I began my career in coaching, is what some call the “stickiness” factor. It turns out that most of life’s greatest and enduring lessons occur through experiential learning, in which the student is fully engaged, even lost, in their own inquiry.
What areas of personal or professional development are you and others in your world most open, interested, and excited about? How can you structure a deep and meaningful learning experience in these areas?
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
-Dr. Seuss, pen name of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel
image from Dr. Suess Entrprises
Dr. Seuss really knew what he was talking about with this quote!
According to DoSomething.org:
- 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
- One in four children in America grows up without learning how to read.
- Students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times likelier to drop out of school.
- Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime.
How will you, in this new year, make a greater commitment to reading and continuous learning, to support yourself and those you care about going to more wonderful places?
“Optimism is essential to achievement, and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.”
-Nicholas Murray Butler, 20th Century president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Image from questionpro.com
Would you like to live a longer, happier, more fulfilling and successful life?
Over the past two decades, I’ve conducted an unscientific, subjective assessment which indicates that my more optimistic clients are more successful and fulfilled during and beyond their coaching engagements.
Other scientifically verified sources attribute a number of benefits to optimism, including:
|Having greater purpose
||Increased coping skills
|More satisfying relationships
||Reduced frustration & worry
|More vibrant health
Consider taking the 15-minute Learned Optimism Test, adapted from Dr. Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism, as a step toward your own more rewarding life.
“When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands.”
-James Burke, British broadcaster and author
image from cntraveler.com
Throughout my childhood and into my early adult years it was rare for me to read anything but an occasional comic book. My mother, Rose, meanwhile, was a voracious reader, often consuming 10-12 books every three weeks—the maximum allowed by our local library.
Although her formal education ended when she graduated from high school, she was more highly intelligent, articulate, and “in the know” than most college graduates. I greatly admired this quality in her and adopted her practices to a good degree throughout my various careers. This is especially true in my work as a Coach, in which I often get to share the minds of others through their wonderful, world-expanding books.
How would a good book related to your existing interests, challenges, or priorities provide a mind-expanding contribution to your world?
Consider the practice of always having a good book handy, so your mind is always expanding.
Click THIS LINK to see some of the world’s most amazing and beautiful libraries. They clearly demonstrate the honor given to books and learning.
“Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.”
—Carl Gustav Jung, founder of analytic psychology
Image from zdnet.com
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of exploring new worlds. I was a fan of Mr. Wizard as a child, and dreamed of being an astronaut. The Discovery Channel is one of my favorites, and my first career was as a science teacher.
As I aged and pursued adventure, personal growth, and my current career in coaching, I found new excitement in taking frequent journeys into the land inside of my mind and heart – without the assistance of a rocket or a space suit.
Chose a practice such as meditation, prayer, journaling, or reading insightful, thought-provoking books and blogs to explore the worlds inside of you, and engage in new journeys of self-discovery.
“It wasn’t a waste of time if you learned something.”
Rarely do I hear people complain that the way they spend their time is wasteful. Rather, when these individuals have little or no say or influence on their time, their complaint level rises dramatically.
What we perceive as “time well spent” is often viewed by those around us—particularly in our professional worlds—as wasteful. The same thing occurs with most of us when others are orchestrating and influencing our days.
As you begin your day, please consider putting on a pair of “Learning Lenses.” As you discover and appreciate the wide variety of teachable moments and lessons learned, examine the fulfillment and satisfaction available because of this more productive and empowering perspective.
“Education is not something to prepare you for life; it is a continuous part of life.”
—Henry Ford, American industrialist
When you completed your formal education – whether it was grade school, high school, college or an advanced degree – how prepared were you for the professional and personal roles you have today?
Henry Ford knew as well as anyone that our education depends significantly on the continuous, iterative lessons we learn through life experiences. This form of education puts us to the test before we capture the lessons we need to live successful lives.
When and in what ways can you embrace the idea that lifelong learning, and being a continuous work in progress, is the best form of education to prepare you for your future?
“Teaching others scales right back to us.”
—Seth Godin, Author
I have always had a passion for learning. As a child, I remember vividly my mother coming upstairs to read after our evening meal and some family time. Although she had only a high school education, she had the most expansive vocabulary of anyone I knew.
My own family, and my wife’s, were educators, so it was not surprising that my first career was as a teacher. After a few years, I shifted to business and found myself in teaching roles within the company. For the past 22 years, I have continued to be both student and teacher as I pursue my professional efforts as a coach.
Over the years, I’ve learned by watching others, applying what I’ve learned, and learned the most by sharing what I learned with others. The lessons always scaled back to me with even deeper meaning and impact.
How can you learn what you most desire by watching people you admire, practice what you learn, and scale these lessons back to you even more by teaching others in your professional and personal life?
As Seth Godin said in his latest book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn, “Teaching rewards us all.”
“Kindness causes us to learn, and to forget, many things.”
– Madame Swetchine, 18th Century Russian Mystic & Writer
What would happen if we lived in a much kinder world?
Today’s quote suggests first that we would learn more, perhaps due to the openness and receptivity kindness provides.
We would also forget many of life’s speed bumps because kindness has the capacity to help us forgive others and jettison the memories that hold us back.
How can you intentionally and generously expand your level of kindness to those in your professional and personal worlds?
Notice what this effort helps you learn, and perhaps forget, through the process.