Always Be a Student

The following concept comes from a recent blog entry I read from Mitch Joel, author of Six Degrees of Separation. I recently finished his book (an excellent read by the way, especially if you want to learn more about how business should work together with consumers to create a fluid, interactive online social media presence) and I went over to his blog, where in one of his entries this week he talks about people and learning. The concept that struck me is a simple one: whether you are 16 or 90, whether you’ve been in your particular business or craft for a year or forty years, you should always be in student mode because you don’t know everything and you might miss a keen insight that can take you to new horizons unforeseen.

I’ve been a bowler for 33+ years in league competition, and 35 years overall. I’m always open to learning new techniques of lane play, ball selection, targeting, and what others are doing that I may be able to modify and adapt to my personal tool box in league, practice or tournament action. I don’t proclaim to know everything about the sport. I do believe I can help others in terms of their mental skills, because once you reach a certain point with your physical game it does become more of a consistent, repetition process and you have to have the ability to relax, keep composure and assess what you see out there on the fly.

As a music critic, I study the craft of all the writers on the websites I currently contribute to. I also read as many other websites as I can in my heavy music specialties. I subscribe to Decibel magazine and follow many of their writers. I know that my writing may not reach the sense of humor ability of say Chris Maycock or Ula Gehret, or the historical knowledge and insight of say Matt Johnsen or Jeff Wagner, or even the critical second by second analysis of S. Craig Zahler- but I believe that I’ve developed my own set of standards and attempt with each piece I write to give the reader a sense of what they will be getting into even if they’ve not heard of the band or a note from the group.

I definitely do not know everything regarding parenthood or adoption. Humans are not robots, and every individual comes with a different set of emotions and ease with which they want to be taught life skills. I rely on a large pool of teachers, family members, therapists, doctors, friends, and knowledgeable authors in the adoption field to make some sense of what’s going on. Yes there’s a lot of trial and error taking place. We take what works and keep it in play, and we take out what doesn’t work and move on to something else. My wife and I have a strong marriage and we communicate as often as possible so that we are both on the same page when it comes to our daughters.

Remember that you can learn as much from the person who is a novice as the person who is the expert. Take the time to research both and see what you can get out of each experience. Surrender yourself to the process of discovery and insight. It’s how we grow as people and move on to a new level of being, of sharing, of caring. Use the free tools of internet social media and search engines to your advantage- it’s a time period in our world that makes information access and retention much quicker than your parents generation and definitely your grandparents’ generation.

It’s fine to be a teacher and pass your knowledge on to others in need- but never forget the student inside of you, wanting to learn yourself.

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