Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Yes, that’s what I do. I make people feel stupid. It’s amazing that I get paid to do this.

And I am really good at it. In fact, I love it.

Why do I do that? Because that is the ONLY way to get a human to learn. I didn’t make the rules on this, but it is the way we learn.

You think you’re afraid of failure? Nope. You’re just like the rest of us, you’re afraid of looking stupid. See, when you fail, you look and feel stupid.

When you slam a hammer down on your thumb rather than the nail, after you stop screaming, you feel stupid. Well, it was a dumb thing to do.

If you trip and fall and the whole world sees you, you feel that horrible redness take over your face. You want to run and hide or wish the earth would open up and swallow you. You want to go back in time – rewind and re-record it before you slipped on the sidewalk. You knew, right before you fell, that you should be paying more attention. You should not have been walking and texting at the same time.

You feel so stupid for having dated/married THAT person. Your friends told you not to do it. Your family begged you to break off the engagement but NO! You went ahead anyway and when it didn’t work out, you felt like an idiot. Well, you probably were one. And I know it took you a long time to let people know it was over.

But, think about it. You know that burner is hot and not because you read about it. There is no owner’s manual for a human. You know it’s hot because you can feel it and probably have burned yourself once or twice on it. See? You know it’s hot but you still burned your hand.

You know that pizza needed to cool off for a few minutes before you dig into it, but you don’t wait and burn the roof of your mouth. How many times have you done that? I do it every single frickin time. No lie.

You knew it was a bad idea to send that money to the poor orphan in Nigeria who was dying of cancer in a jail and who only had you out of 6.5 billion people to help him. You were the only one that could save his life.

No one likes to look or feel stupid, but that’s how we learn. That’s what I do for a living. I teach. I teach business owners how to run things better and in order to do that, they have to see what they’ve been doing wrong. That’s where I come in.

I don’t do it to be mean. I do it to help but unless you’re willing to smack your head against a wall a few times, you will never learn.

I have to get them to see why bribing employees is not such a great idea when they’ve been late, non-productive and a Queen Bitch from Hell and that maybe giving them a raise won’t improve their behavior. It actually makes it worse, just like giving a child candy every time they have a temper tantrum.

I have to go over, in great detail, why the person answering the phone needs to be friendly and not say “WHAT?” when picking up the incoming call, even if she’s his niece and is in desperate need of a job because no one else will hire her.

Then there’s the time I had to make a guy feel really moronic in getting him to stop hugging his employees and having “daily affirmations” as part of a staff meeting and to shut the hell up about his political beliefs. Yes, I had to do that and it took a long time of me pounding this into his pinhead for him to finally say “Well, OK, maybe that’s not such a good way to run a business after all.” Ya think?

Or the time I had to make a client feel bad about being online all day rather than, I don’t know, actually running his business?  Boy, did that guy feel pretty stupid by the time I was done with him. But, he never did it again.

I have my own trail of stupidity, so you aren’t alone.

I was stupid when I thought that an abusive man wouldn’t be that way to me. Wrong.

I was stupid when I thought by ignoring the IRS, they would go away. So very wrong.

I was stupid when I thought I could walk all day in 4″ heels. Wrong and I have the damage to my feet to prove it.

I was stupid when I listened to a bonehead “friend” who said I didn’t have the talent to write. I hope the bitch is reading this right now.

And I was incredibly wrong in thinking that the “check oil” light in the car would magically go away. I ended up with a cracked block on that puppy and an enormous bill from the mechanic to prove how stupid I can be.

But, all of these things, I never did again. I don’t hang out with mean people, I pay my taxes on time, I wear flats when spending the day walking around San Francisco and I run to the mechanic anytime something is wrong with my car.

I still bite into hot pizza though. I actually can’t help it.

We all have these trails and rather than be bothered by them, learn from them. You don’t learn about life from reading books.  We learn about life from falling down and getting up again. We learn when we admit we are wrong and try to find a better way the next time.  We learn from our mistakes. We are the only ones that can teach ourselves. We are the only ones that can change who and what we are.

So go out there and make a fool of yourself. Let your weirdness shine. Smack your head against the wall a few times if you need to. Fall down and scrape your knees and get up and do it again. I always tried to tackle that very long and steep street with my roller blades. I have permanent scars on my knees, but I eventually won. It took a whole summer, but I did it. How I never sustained worse injuries than my knees I will never know.

There’s nothing to be afraid of. So what if you make a fool of yourself? Why should you be different from any of us?

Start learning now and never stop. This doesn’t mean you have to go to school if you don’t want to or can’t afford it. It means to find things out for yourself and keep practicing at what you do and get better and better at it.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to feel good about yourself when you are being or acting stupid? No, really, have you ever felt good about yourself in moments like that? I sure haven’t but that is a good way to learn. You do or say something stupid, see that you did and then go find a better way to deal with it in the future.

You don’t learn about things from reading. I wish we did because then we would all be much happier. No, we learn by experience and our own observations. You know the sun rises every day, right? Well, did you learn that from reading it in a book or from observing it for yourself?

We learn by smacking into a brick wall, pulling back and rubbing our head and finding out that when we do that, it hurts. Some of us have to smack our heads against the wall a few times before we get it. I have survived many bruises on my forehead (and my butt from getting knocked down on it) before I thought “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t do that,” and figuring out another way around something.

I am also the person that if the sign says “Wet Paint,” I’m fine with that. But if it says “Wet Paint Do No Touch,” well, I have to go touch it to see for myself. I have to learn on my own and not because someone told me what was right to do and what was wrong to do. If it’s really wet, then I know it. If it’s no longer wet, then I know that too.

There are also the people who just keep banging their heads against the brick wall and blame others for it. We call these people “victims” and I wouldn’t give them too much attention. They like it.

You are responsible for your own knowledge. No one else is. You know what you know because you said so. It doesn’t have to agree with anyone else. In fact, if you look at the title of this blog again, you’ll probably get a good idea of my opinion of anyone who tries to tell me or others how things are or how to think and behave.

I will only agree to the things that I know for myself to be true and I think we all need to find our own truths no matter what anyone says. You need to find your own truth, whatever it is and then say that it is.

If you don’t understand what someone is telling you, tell them that and have them explain it to you until you understand. It doesn’t matter who it is, a boss, a teacher, a co-worker or a friend. Don’t go along with things that don’t make sense to you. Question and learn. Those that care about you will help you. Those that don’t, try to push their agenda on you. That usually indicates it’s a hidden agenda. Find out and if they won’t tell you, then walk away.

Read and then read some more. Evaluate everything you read and decided if you agree or not. You can accept or reject anything you want. Then go see if what you just read is true for you. If someone tells you a certain race or culture is bad, go find out for yourself. Go look and talk to the people and see what you see. Make your own decisions because those are the things that will give you knowledge. Your own observation is the only thing that is of value in learning.

Do you really want to look and act like everyone else? Since when did someone else’s opinion have more importance than your own? It has as much importance as you give it. Ignore it. Don’t try to learn from anyone that you don’t respect even if someone tells you that you should respect them. So what if they are a relative or rich or famous? That doesn’t mean you have to like or respect them. Be with people who you admire and learn from them.

List out all the things you would like to know more about. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as they are things you want to learn about. Then go find out more about those things.

List out all of the things you need to improve upon and start increasing your competency. If you are having trouble with something at work, get someone to help you be better at it. Know that you can be better.

List out some of the stupidest things you’ve ever done and then write down what you learned from them.  I have a long list and it makes me laugh now. At the time I did some of these things, it wasn’t so funny.

Find someone who could use your help in becoming more capable in an area and help them do that. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you are teaching someone to be better at what they do.

You are as valuable as you want to be. You are as smart as you want to be.

Let me know everything you learned this week.