Today’s Blog: 4 Ways to Be More Teachable
TODAY’S PROVERB: One who heeds discipline is on the path of life, but whoever ignores correction goes astray. Proverbs 10:17, TLV
The “D” word — Discipline. There are two definitions of discipline. One is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. The second, has to do with self-control. So, one type is applied by a parent, teacher, or trainer. The other chooses to apply it for themselves.
Today’s proverb seems to favor the first definition: the discipline given to someone who needs correction or training, because they lack the ability to do it for themselves. But, wouldn’t it be great if we chose to do it on our own?
The person who heeds a correction or training will go far in life. Essentially, it means they are teachable.
Can We be Taught How to be Teachable?
Being teachable is a mindset, yes, but sometimes we need assistance in training ourselves how. How to choose a response that is different from our usual one. I’ve been in the “Teachable Kindergarten” for an embarrassingly long time, but here are a few tips that have worked for me:
- Be aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of our weaknesses will either make us defensive or eager to learn more. Someone once said, know who is the smartest person in the room and stand by them. I would add: Assume it’s not us. Choose to learn something new.
- Find a way to comfortably admit when we’re wrong. Oh, that’s a tough one, isn’t it? What helps me is to begin with, “Oh, you’re right!” Then summarize briefly what was said. It’s kind of cheating because I don’t actually say I’m wrong — but I affirm that I now know the “right” and move on. Eventually, I may get around to saying, “I was wrong about such-and-such.” Hopefully, eventually I can just say, “Oh, I was wrong.” Choose to find a way to admit when wrong.
- Focus on finding the solution, not on being right. When we’re able to flip the switch from being the know-it-all to being a facilitator, we create a team environment. Sometimes, when we step back and let others shine, we can actually accomplish things. And oddly enough, it feels good. Choose to be a facilitator.
- Learn how it feels to hold “too tightly” to being right. Over the years, I’ve learned to recognize when I’m holding on to being right. I feel tense. It’s difficult for me to listen. My heart rate increases. My face flushes. If I’m sensing one or more of these symptoms, I back down by shutting my mouth, sitting back (or backing up a step) and begin really listening. Choose to let go.
Those are a few tips that have had a pretty good success rate for me. I’d love to hear yours, because honestly, we can use all the help we can get. And, remember, the Creator of the Universe is in our corner to help us.