Experience teaches only the teachable – Aldous Huxley

questionI suspect that every one of us has somebody … or several somebodies … whose life path seems to lead nowhere (or worse).  Twenty years of working the 12-Steps have taught me that I don’t know what’s best for everybody … or even anybody … except myself (and that’s sometimes questionable) but it’s hard to watch insanity of the doing-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again sort.  It’s hard to understand why some people never learn. Why do some people see the same results over and over again and decide to try something new, while others continue to beat their lives against a wall?  Well, yes, there’s arrogance for one and its cousin, closed-mindedness.  There’s fear of success and fear of failure and just plain old fear of change.  There’s addiction and a variety of mental conditions.  There’s laziness and complacency.  And yet, in my world, I’ve seen some people overcome so much while others seem to be confounded by so little.  So often the answer … or at least an answer … is there for the taking if we are only Teachable.  Alcoholics talk about high-bottom and low-bottom alcoholics.  What they are talking about is how bad things have to be before we become Teachable.

Back in my Big Industry days, I was the kind of man who rolled his eyes at leadership seminars we were required to attend.  I wasn’t always Teachable.  But today, when I Googled Teachable, I found a post on John Maxwell on Leadership titled How do I maintain a teachable attitude?  It starts out with a quote from John Wooden: It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.  Nice.  What follows is a five point guide for being Teachable that I really like. I especially like point number four which offers a list of questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I open to other people’s ideas?
  2. Do I listen more than I talk?
  3. Am I open to changing my opinion based on new information?
  4. Do I readily admit when I am wrong?
  5. Do I observe before acting on a situation?
  6. Do I ask questions?
  7. Am I willing to ask a question that will expose my ignorance?
  8. Am I open to doing things in a way I haven’t done before?
  9. Am I willing to ask for directions?
  10. Do I act defensive when criticized, or do I listen openly for truth?

Now, that’s a challenging list.  Maybe that’s why everyone isn’t Teachable.  How’d you do?

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One Comment on “Teachable”

  1. once I have said “the artists are the secular priests” in the light of your post the question arose “was I beating my life against a wall, or that was the endurance in faith?
    In any case, thank you for your 10 questions to ask myself.

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