Developing a teachable attitude should be at the top of your self-development plan because everything else is directly related to how teachable you are, how open you are to new information. You cannot grow if you are not willing to change, to accept new perspectives on life or to change your habits.
After you learn something new, it is very important to use that knowledge, to act – this is how you incorporate that knowledge into your being. Learning is great, but learning without action will bring you a great amount of overwhelming feelings that never help.
What Does it Mean to be Teachable?
Teachability is not a talent or something that you’re born with – those are just victim mindsets. You can learn to be teachable, even if it sounds very odd. We all have the ability to learn different skills in life, some skills will come easier for you, while others will be a pain in the butt, but you have the ability to learn anything you set your mind to and you can also become world-class at it if you are persistent!
Might be a bit too much to say this, but your level of teachability might dictate your level of happiness and success in life. Why? Because, to become successful in any industry, you have to constantly work on keeping up with the latest information and technology. But you can only become as successful as your level of teachability.
Your teachability index has the power to create lasting success because if you constantly work on learning new stuff, you constantly work on growing yourself as a human being, which keeps you happy and successful. Once you stop learning, you are not actually standing still, you are going backward because the Universe is ever expanding and moving forward. So, you either learn something every day (grow) or take on the “know-it-all” attitude and die (in a metaphorical way, of course).
How Can You Tell if You are Teachable or Not
It’s pretty easy to tell if you (or someone) is open to learning new information. So you are teachable if you:
- seek help
- accept that other’s opinion might be better than yours
- take notes
- learn from criticism
- take responsibility for your failures and seek lessons to learn
- read books and seek answers
- focus on solutions
- live a conscious life and learn from all kinds of situations
- are so aware that you learn from other people’s mistakes – this is next level!
- love to get out of your comfort zone
- love to try something new
- are open to doing things in a totally different way
- are confident in changing your routine
- admit when you’re wrong
- have a mentor or you are looking for one
- ask questions and have a curious attitude
- are aware that you don’t know everything and you are open to learning
At the end of the day, it all comes down do these two questions:
- What are you willing to give up to learn something new?
- Are you willing to spend money and time to learn something new?
So, just ask yourself if you are willing to give up watching your favorite TV Show or whatever you love doing every day in order to learn a new skill or even language?
Ways to Make Sure You Keep Your Teachability Index High
1. Reflect Upon Your Daily Activities
Probably the best way to make sure you keep a teachable attitude is to take 5-10 minutes every night to reflect upon your daily activities. A cool exercise that I do is to write down what was:
- the same
This gives me an overview of my day that enables me to improve all areas of my life. When you do this exercise, start small – just 3 ideas for each point is more than enough (but don’t force yourself to find three ideas for worse if there are none!). You will soon find yourself being more aware of your life and, you will automatically discover ways to improve the “worse” and do more of the “better”.
Stick to this exercise for at least 30 days in order to see great results. I used to write them down in Evernote, but since I’ve created my own self-development diary I write them down in there because it’s better to use paper than laptop – I know it’s hard to accept, but try it and see how relieved you’ll feel.
2. Complete Sentences Exercise
I’ve first heard about this exercise in Nathaniel Branden‘s book “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” and since then I recommend it to everyone. Even though the sentences found in the book are for raising your self-esteem and becoming more aware of your life, they are evergreen and the same principle can be utilized in other areas as well.
How does it work?
As always, there are some rules, but they are easy to follow. Because there are 12 sentences in total, we’ll divide them in 3 big sessions. Each session will be one week long and all you have to do is write 6 endings to each sentence, either in the morning or at night – whatever feels better for you. One key aspect though, you cannot sit and think, just write down whatever comes first to your mind, it does not matter if it’s relevant or not, what matters is to try to finish the exercise in up to 10 minutes.
Focus on just 4 sentences each week, otherwise it might be too much information to process and you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed. To read more about the science behind this exercise please follow this link.
What I always like to remind myself is that self-development is a marathon, not a sprint, so take your time and trust the process.
- If I will be just 5% more teachable today…
- The scariest thing about being teachable is…
- The scariest aspect of living a conscious life is…
- The positive side of not being fully teachable is…
- For me, being teachable means…
- If I would learn from my mistakes today…
- If I would be just 5% more open to try something new today…
- If I would be more aware of my beliefs today…
- If I would listen 5% more today…
- If I’d take into consideration the possibility of other people being right…
- If I would add just 5% more awareness in my relationship with (insert name)…
- If I would be just 5% more aware of what makes me mad…
3. Listen More Than You Talk! You Have Two Ears and One Mouth For a Reason!
Now this is something I had a hard time learning, not that I am a big talker, but because I used to always rehearse my answers in my mind, which did not make me much of a listener. I believe there are three types of people:
- The ones that talk and rarely listen (they always have something to say that is related to what you said in their 10 seconds break)
- The ones that give you the impression that they listen, but they are just rehearsing their next answer/story (or even worse, playing their favorite Friends episode in their head)
- The ones that are balanced and have learned how to listen in a genuine way.
A big benefit of listening to people is that they will feel more connected to you, which will create more contacts that can bring more opportunities in your life. As always, start small and listen to one person today, but genuinely be there in the present moment and even put a smile on your face – make him/her feel loved and cared for.
4. Surround Yourself With People From Whom You Can Learn
You can have the intention to become more teachable or to learn as much as possible in life, but if all your friends only talk about the latest news (and not positive ones!), celebrity gossip or just gossip, in general, you will learn something but it won’t be valuable for your growth.
“Align yourself with people that you can learn from, people who want more out of life, people who are Stretching and Searching and Seeking some higher ground in life.” – Les Brown
As tough as it may sound, sometimes we have to let go of people that are not making our lives better, but you don’t have to have the awkward discussion. You will see that by just setting an intention to meet new open-minded people, you will be dragged into a new energy and those friends of yours that are not willing to grow will stop calling you. It’s a lot more easier that you think!
Life is short and there are so many incredible things to learn in life that you have to make every second count.
How can you tell if someone is dragging you down? Go have a cup of coffee for an hour and see how you feel on your way back home. Are you happy, full of energy and enthusiastic or do you feel tired, bored and negative? It’s really that easy, just let your emotions guide you.
5. Embrace Failure!
The education system does a hell of a job at teaching us that failure is bad by giving us grades and make us feel bad if we had a bad day and now more than ever people need to learn how to better embrace failure (yes, myself included).
“Give yourself a break. Stop beating yourself up! Everyone makes mistakes, has setbacks and failures. You don’t come with a book on how to get it right all the time. You will fail sometimes, not because you planned to, but simply because you’re human. Failure is a part of creating a great life.” – Les Brown
Failure is just an opportunity to learn something new, to experience and grow. You are bigger and greater than your failures and don’t ever doubt that.
“There’s a difference between failing and being a failure. If things don’t work out, if you don’t produce the results you want, that’s all, but don’t confuse who you are with the results that you produce.” – Les Brown
At the same time, you cannot let yourself be paralyzed with fear in such a way that it dictates what you can or cannot do. In order to see if you like something, you first have to try it. Picture this: you go into a foreign restaurant and try something completely new, but you don’t like it at all. Does that make you a failure? NO. Will you try that again? Not if you take the time to acknowledge why you did not like that dish. It’s the same in life, how can you know if you like something if you never tried it before?! The chances are that you might fail and that’s okay.
Since I started working online, I had more than 10 businesses and it took me almost five years to realize that I want to inspire men to be happy, kind and stylish. And, the chances are that this will change every few months and the vision will become clearer and clearer, but this would have never happened if I wouldn’t have started by creating my girlfriend’s fashion blog five years ago. You never know where your actions might take you, just trust your intuition and be persistent, if it feels right!
6. Read Something Every Day!
Leaders are readers (or the other way around). Reading is crucial to our self-development as human beings because it has the power of giving us new perspectives on life. A single idea in one book has the power to totally transform your life.
It’s better to read just 5 pages every day and let your mind truly understand the ideas found in the book rather than reading 100 pages a day just for the sake of it because your mind will most probably only retain a few important ideas.
Will Smith used to say that we are so many people on this planet that you can’t possibly have a problem that someone else did not confront with beforehand. This is where reading comes in handy – it’s pretty hard to get new information if you don’t seek it.
The conclusion is pretty straightforward: the learning process never stops – you will always have something new to learn and that is the beauty of life! If I were to recommend just one thing that would have the biggest impact on your life and self-growth it would be to try to keep your teachability index as high as possible. This is the only thing that will give you feeling of wonder and excitement, but also of peace, trust and acceptance.
What did you learn from this article?
- You can learn anything even how to be more teachable!
- How to identify if you have a teachable attitude or not.
- Two powerful self-development exercises that you can do right away to become more teachable, both included in my self-development diary. Get yours here!
- Your environment dictates your life. If you want to change something, start there!
- The power of reading daily if you want to become a great leader.
- And, least but not last, failure is important to your growth.
By understanding all these lessons, you already made the first step towards a better, happier life by having a more teachable attitude. Congrats!