When we were kids, we learned so much. And we loved it! Think of a little kid asking “why” repeatedly. (Why is the grass green? Why is the sky blue? Blah blah blah.) Kids learn every day. In class. At after-school activities. And at home! They can’t get enough.
Then we get old and get jobs and begin our adult lives. And somehow, for many of us, the learning fizzles out. The love of learning fades away. Especially when we get the hang of our jobs. Do you read comments on Facebook? It’s a lot of telling and opinion sharing. Not much asking or listening to understand. Not very much of “ohhhhh I’ve never really thought about it that way!” Why aren’t we interested in learning anymore?
The Teacher Acting as the Student
There’s a certain woman in my life who has taught me a lot about nutrition. She is actually the reason why I started caring so much in the first place and changing my diet. Wanna hear a super cool thing? She lets me teach her now. It’s almost baffling. She could certainly take on the attitude of “Now listen here missy, I am the reason why you are interested in this stuff, so you should just let me continue to teach you.” [Sound familiar? Ever experience this?] But she doesn’t. She’s eager to learn, and I think that’s bad-ass.
Then there’s the issue of cognitive dissonance. Ever heard of it? It’s an education term. It’s when you hear something that challenges one of your beliefs. Let’s say your whole life growing up, you are told you can’t subtract a number from a lesser number. For example, you can’t find 8 – 9, because you don’t have 9 things to take away; you only have 8. But then BOOM! You start learning about negative numbers and find out that you CAN simplify this expression. Whaaaaaat?! Your brain’s auto-response is to dismiss it. This can’t be true! This goes against everything I’ve ever believed in! So many of us dismiss it, and don’t look back. We can’t find 8 – 9, nope nope nope it doesn’t exist. Case closed! But others can choose to plow through the dissonance, open their minds, and try to comprehend this new concept. Hooray! It’s tough to do. Imagine going your whole life thinking that you can’t take away 9 from 8. You’d be missing out on so much! Integers rock.
I Learned A and You Learned B
Then there’s that whole thing about clinging to the first thing we hear/learn. Let’s say you get your weather forecasts from Joe Snowflake and I get my weather forecasts from Susie Sunshine. You hear from Joe that we’re gonna get a snowstorm. Expect 5 to 10 inches of snow! And that’s what you believe. But I hear from Sue that we’re getting 10 to 15. And that’s what I believe. Isn’t it funny how we cling to those beliefs? “We can’t be getting just 5 to 10 inches…Susie said 10 to 15. Joe is a dumbass.” Know what I mean? Does this sound familiar? It’s baffling. Or maybe your trainer teaches you to do pull-ups one way, but my trainer teaches me to do pull-ups a different way. What makes my trainer better than yours, or vice versa? How do we know who is right? Maybe my trainer ends up being right, but your meteorologist ends up being right. If I’ve never met your trainer, how do I know that mine is better? Let’s keep an open mind and hear both sides!
We’re All Experts!
Remember how exciting it was to learn when you were a kid. Remember how empowering it can be! New skills, new topics, new routines. Don’t be afraid of learning. It does not show weakness when you ask someone a question or ask for help. I think we are all experts in our own fields. Let’s share our knowledge. Cuz we don’t have enough time to become experts in everything. Got a question about guitars or bicycle racing or how to raise adorable sweet children? Ask Omar. He will 100% know the answer! DO NOT ASK ME. I KNOW NOTHING. Unless you have a math question (esp Common Core), or a singing question, or a nutrition/healthy cooking question. If so, ask away!! Need to know about running sound for a band, playing bass, sound design for film, or styling perfect hair? Ask Jaime, for sure. Got a question about politics, dogs, or building websites? Ask Donboy. We all have something to contribute. But it’s only gonna work if we are willing to listen and learn from each other, not just teach and tell. It’s gotta be a two-way street. We can do this!! Yes. We. Cannnnnn
Thanks for reading! I love you! <3