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Friday, April 16, 2010

Always learning?

When I mentor or teach writers—elementary school kids with big dreams, teens, or adult writers—one of the first things I tell them is never stop learning. I also tell them that even if you think you know something so well you could do it in your sleep, keep practicing and improving it.

I got a nice object lesson of this truth the other day.

We were in a martial arts class, practicing blocking moves. In this particular class, we’d gone over these techniques for weeks. I was pretty confident I knew what I was doing.

But then all four advanced belt leaders had something else to show me.

At first, I was discouraged, thinking I’d never get it.

Then I realized they weren’t telling me the same stuff they’d told me last time or the time before. They were teaching me more advanced techniques and pushing me to learn more, to keep improving.

It clicked that evening that even if I know a million and one things about any given subject (I don’t), there are always a million and two things to learn.

Always learning has a ton of benefits—sharper mind, growing base of knowledge and wisdom, winning Trivial Pursuit. That last one matters, truly. Ask my friend Carrie.

It has benefits for the people around you too. Your learning can be a source of inspiration and it can give you opportunities to mentor and help someone else take one more step toward their dreams.

What can you learn today, this week, this year?

Then look around and find someone a few steps behind you in learning that same thing. Teach them, encourage them, and share what you’ve learned.

You’ll touch a life. You might even inspire a God-sized dream.


Sheila Deeth said...

Nice post. I suspect I'll never be much good at trivial pursuit, but today I learned that little kids can teach you a lot about enjoying packing toiletries into bags for Haiti.

Anonymous said...

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.......................................................

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