When you were young, your mind is simply absorbing information like a sponge. You are learning all sorts of things and it comes from actual practice or doing to observing and listening. A child learns from all mediums whether good or bad. A child is teachable and the more teachable a child is, the more a child will learn. When we become adults, and perceive that we know it all, we become set in our ways and not very teachable. When that settles in, it is almost impossible to grow and mature. People who struggle the most with change and adapting to different situations are often those who have lost the teachable mindset. They are no longer open to learning or to be “taught” by others.
Are you teachable? Are you open to learning and changing? Are you willing to humble yourself to admit that you don’t know and need to learn? What do you need to continue to be teachable?
There are 3 key ingredients to having a teachable mindset:
- Humility: To be humble, to admit that you need help, to change, to learn and to grow. To acknowledge, that “I Don’t Know” is hard for some. Those who are arrogant and prideful will find this first step extremely difficult and will probably justify away the “I don’t know”. Have you met anyone who will not acknowledge their lack of knowledge? Have you met anyone who will give excuses as to why they got it wrong or made a mistake? When we do not humble ourselves, and acknowledge that we need to learn, we stunt the growth process and will eventually end up making a fool of ourselves. We don’t have a look hard to find in the news today who we could put into this category.
- Growth mindset: A growth mindset is one where the learning never stops. Learning is a continuous process and the journey never ends. Learning and innovating is as critical as the air we breathe. Therefore the mind is always searching for new knowledge and is teachable.
- Seeking out assistance: Seek out people who can teach you, to learn from. Seek out mentors, experts in a field. Read and study. Join groups or networks to learn from. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Having a teachable mindset requires that you seek out avenues to learn from. Like-minded people will share your desire to learn, brainstorm and explore new options and solutions.
What are the signs that you are teachable?
- Acknowledge mistakes: You will acknowledge and apologise for the mistake. You will take ownership and make the necessary steps to ensure that you learn from it and hopefully not make it again. You will learn from the mistake and make the adjustments.
- Seek out knowledge: You will have a desire to learn and your reading habits is a good sign. People who are perpetually learning are usually those who read ferociously. Reading materials can range from any topic or subject. The wider the range of reading materials, the great the breadth of knowledge. You will have mentors, coaches, networks of learning groups and so on. People learning from one another is a great source of knowledge and wisdom.
- Take risk: Taking risk sounds like a strange sign but our greatest lessons in life comes from risk. When we take the risk of embarking in a new area, we are putting ourselves in very uncomfortable situation. It is in those situations, that we humble ourselves and learn. Failures will occur but therein lies the greatest learnings. Don’t be afraid of taking risk or of failing. Read my blog on Fear Cycle.
- Open to new ideas: You will listen to other people and are open to new ideas or thoughts. You are willing to consider your ideas are not the only ideas that could be viable. Open to challenging your assumptions and testing out other options. Don’t be defensive when new ideas are being discussed. Be open to listening to all the possibilities and the final solution might be even better than the first. The number of conflicts that we can settle if only people would be open to the ideas of others and not be bound by just one way of getting things done.
- What is my teachable meter?
- When confronted, what is my initial reaction? Is it negative? Is it open to learning? What is my response?
- How comfortable am I to acknowledge a mistake?
- What is my greatest barrier to learning? Is it my pride? Is it my stubbornness?
- What circle of friends do I have? Do I allow people around me to challenge me? Do I only want people to agree with me?
- What is my response when I fail? What is my mindset with failure?
If you have taken the time to ask yourself some of the questions above, it’s a great start to knowing just where you are on the “teach-ability” meter.
PS – Are you curious about coaching and what it can do for you? Find out more here.