2007-10-01 11:42 PM

Help Yourself (By Helping Others)

I am a good proof reader. I can usually see what is actually on the page rather than what I expect to see. I have a sizable vocabulary that helps me identify misspelled or misused words. The trouble is that I don’t just see the mistakes I feel them. So when I’m reading a book and find mistakes I am moved to tell the author and/or publisher about them. With print books I let inertia take over and do nothing. However, with digital text I feel almost compelled to tell the author when there are typos. (And yes, I welcome your pedanticness too!)

Generally when I let people know they have room to improve their prose I either get ignored or blown off. There have been a few times where my feedback has been welcomed. I am now friends with one particular author because she not only welcomed the feedback but requested any further assistance I was willing to provide.

This “volunteering” of mine is related to “going first” where you recognize that the only way to change other people’s actions is by changing your reactions.
Which leads us back to the topic at hand.

What is the best way to learn something? Teach it.

One aspect that makes this true is the clarity necessary to explain something to someone else. As a student you only need to “understand” a topic well enough to pass the test. As the teacher you eventually have the material mastered to such an extent that you can explain the topic, answer arbitrary questions about it, and come up with some way of measuring how well the students are understanding the material.

The other aspect that seems to make this true is reinforcement. The more often you are exposed to material the more likely you are to master it. The more senses you apply in your study (which now includes teaching) the more likely you are to remember, recall, and realize your full potential. Neuroanatomy suggests what many already know: speaking words in your own voice is much more powerful than just hearing someone else speak those same words.

Today’s quiz:
Where are you ready to “go first” and start influencing others with your new behaviors and attitudes?
What do you know, or want to know, well enough to share with others?
Which insights about your special topic will you choose to share first?
Who do you know that can benefit from your limited experience because they have even less experience?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan No Comments »

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