The Importance and Value of Being Teachable
If you are stuck in your life or career, the one strategy that can help you break away and a achieve your next level of success: becoming teachable.
What does that mean?
\ ˈtē-chə-bəl \
a : capable of being taught
b : apt and willing to learn
If you are stuck in any area of your life, it is tied to something that you don't know or don't understand.
I thank God for Google. I remember the days before Google when the only way that you could travel without getting lost was by having and knowing how to read a map.
I remember travelling to new places and the first stop was by the AAA office, visitor center, or gas station.
The first step was to unfold the map and find your location. Until you understand where you are in relation to the rest of the map, you will stay lost.
Smaller maps were easier to navigate. The street names were printed clearly in larger font and you could see the details of all of the intersecting roads.
Larger maps were a little more difficult to read and sometimes required magnification. So if you travelled a lot, you also had a really good magnifying glass in the glove compartment.
With the map spread across your dashboard, the process of "reading the map" began. Once you pinpointed your own location, the next step was locating where you wanted to go. This required a general understanding of which direction you needed to travel. Was your destination south, north, east or west of your current location? Without understanding this one thing, you could spend precious minutes searching all over the map. This could be extremely problematic with larger maps.
Once you had pinpointed your own location and your destination, it was time to figure out how to "navigate" through the many roads drawn out in neat lines and curves on your map.
Navigating your life is not much different from reading a map.
Everyone walks around with mental maps inside of their head. These mental maps have been formed based on your life experiences, what you were taught, and the things that you have learned along the way.
Unfortunately, many of us have been given defective mental maps.
It is nearly impossible to find your way around using a map that is defective.
If you are feeling stuck or like you are going around in circles, it is time for you to get a new map. Your map needs to be updated to reflect what you need to know to get where you need to go.
And that requires that you learn something new.
The ability to surpass your own self-imposed limitations is strongly tied to your ability to learn and grow. And you cannot learn and grow without being teachable.
John Maxwell describes being teachable this way:
Teachability is not so much about competence and mental capacity as it is about attitude. It is the desire to listen, learn, and apply. It is the hunger to discover and grow. It is the willingness to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Updating your mental maps is the key to breaking free from your stuck zone.
This ties in directly to the value of being teachable.
Embedded in Maxwell's statement is the key to understanding how to be teachable. It is summed up in the phrases:
"...listen, learn, and apply...learn, unlearn, relearn."
When we do these six key things, we intentionally make updates to our mental map and are able to better understand how to move in the direction we want to go.
Let's break down these key strategies and understand how they benefit us on our pathway to growth:
Listen. In a culture where everyone is talking, tweeting, and posting, listening has become a lost skill. Everyone is talking and no one is listening. If you have reached this point in my blog post, you are exceptional. Most people have trained themselves to read the first 140 characters. And they only listen to a tenth of what is being said in conversations. We scroll rapidly through our newsfeed or timeline, and we miss the essential component of what is being said. The learning process requires you to develop your listening muscles.
Learn. What do you know? And who taught it to you? Why do you believe what you believe? This is at the crux of understanding why and how you became stuck. When our maps are limited by viewpoints, perspectives, and beliefs that have gaps in understanding, we don't know what we don't know and can't understand past our limitations. We can end up going around in circles - back and forth between what we don't know and the boundary of what we do know. Learning new things is essential to your growth and moving your past boundaries.
Apply. The impact of learning new things is limited by your desire to practice and put into practice what you learn. Travellers put what they learn into practice by moving into new territory. And this is exactly what you need to do when you learn something new. Most of us have a habit of learning and understanding more than we do. We know more than we do. When we put we learn into practice, it opens our understanding even more.
Learn. Learning something new is only part of the equation. In order to get on a pathway of continual growth, we must make learning a habit. My favorite question to ask people after they have failed is "What have you learned?" One of the hallmark qualities of successful people is that they are lifelong learners. They are in a consistent mode of learning and exploring.
Unlearn. Updating our mental maps may also create a situation where we have to "unlearn" something that we thought we knew. Sometimes things on our maps are inaccurate. People, some well-meaning, may have given us bad information based on their defective map. And if we don't recognize that we must "let go" of some things we thought we knew, our mental maps will remain inaccurate. Inaccurate mental maps are the main reason we stay stuck.
Relearn. Let's face it: we don't learn perfectly the first time. Depth of understanding and insight only comes when we get into a mode of learning and relearning to reinforce our depth of understanding. Consistently learning and putting into practice the new things we learn is the pathway to breaking through the barriers that are holding you back.
Are you teachable? What new things have you learned within the last year?
Update your map and get on the road to the life of your dreams!