On Learning And Teaching Anything to Anyone

On Learning And Teaching Anything to Anyone
Someone was in my office today and noticed my juggling pins (hey Sam… Sam is a twitter buddy of mine) and he asked if I could juggle them. Which, granted, isn’t the greatest of questions ever asked. Right? But anyway. “Yeah, Sam, I can juggle them.” And then I heard myself saying – “And I can teach you how to do it too.” Which seemed like a bit of a leap at the time. I am on record with many people, having said, “I can teach anyone to juggle.”

Which also seems like a bit of a stretch. Right? You don’t know my Uncle Mort. Woah. Serious clutz. Of course you can’t teach him. And thinking about it, my response is… “No, if your Uncle Mort, really wants to learn… and will listen to me… I can teach him.” Here’s how I know that I can, because I know the secret, and I also know it isn’t hard, ergo, I know I can convey this secret to others in such a way that they can reproduce this activity. Right?

For example, when people start to learn how to juggle, what do they invariably do? They pick up three balls and start firing them into the air at random. No. When you start to learn how to juggle, you start with one ball. You learn to throw that one ball, over and over again, in the correct way, at the correct height, and then catch it correctly. Start with left hand, then the right. Ball should go eye level, catch. Ball should go eye level, catch. Yes? Then when you have that licked… and promise me, you aren’t a good judge for when you have one ball figured out, you progress to two. If you get two… correctly, throw-throw-catch-catch, you are done. You are there. The third ball is just academic. It’s the same with juggling pins. You learn the right spin, and height of one pin, then you progress to two. Sounds stupid here. But I promise you, it works. And I have taught many many people to juggle balls in my life. It’s fairly straightforward because I know how it works. And I know how to break the thing down into it’s component parts. Right?

Here, this is a perfect example. This guy taught himself to unicycle in a couple hours.

You’d think it’d be days, but it really isn’t that difficult. And if he had someone there with him who knew how, it would have been 10 times faster. I could have given him tips to save him all kinds of grief throughout the first hour or so.

Same goes for you. You have skills and abilities that you can teach to others. It doesn’t have to be sword swallowing, or trapeze flying. Maybe it’s speed reading, or stenography (I’ve ALWAYS wanted to learn), speed typing, coding, welding, or maybe just the art of empathy or listening?! (Ok, now we are in the outer bounds of the possible!) If you understand the trick to it, and you can break it down to it’s component parts you can convey, even to me, the ability to listen. Wait, what did you say? Oh never mind that, I’m talking here.

I actually quite enjoy teaching, and the look of enlightenment people get when they understand the thing. That ah ha! moment. I was teaching someone how to play Bridge (not the simplest of card games, that is for sure. There’s a reason it’s a dying card game. But it is the single greatest card game ever invented… just saying.) the other day and when they asked a clarifying question that made it all click it was like the doorway of heaven just opened and trumpets blared. Such a neat thing to see someone experience.

But all that just assumes that you want to share the knowledge that you have. Maybe that was the bigger thing I should have discussed here! You have knowledge that you really should be sharing with those around you.