Learning is the most powerful life skill you can have and one of the hardest skills to master. It is the oxygen of a rich, fulfilling life. To master it, however, requires the application of the five critical skills of “sharing, sharing, sharing, sharing.”
To learn and share difficult things, we need help to understand them. It can feel as though there is no way to get to that deeper understanding. And yet, if we truly want to understand difficult things we must. We must ask the hard questions and do the exploration. In order to reach deeper understandings we must learn through exploration.
If we have learned from others that it is best to simply stand aside and observe a subject, what is the purpose of completing a project or participating in a community activity?
We need to take the time to explain something to others. Such an explanation must be specific and are relevant. It must be logical and not be seen as taking another person’s place. In short, it is key to clarify our understanding of the message.
For the truly agile, such a clarification will bring great success. For those who are uncomfortable, however, or who have more traditional and traditional-oriented ways of doing things, the process is difficult.
When dealing with a difficult subject we need to engage others before talking about it, to gain their insight. That insight leads to understanding and then next, the implementation of what they have shared.
To understand that which is difficult, we must seek help from others. Such assistance isn’t by association, but must be specifically sought from the person being helped. In other words, you must first help someone understand something before you ask them to share something with you.
In studying others, we learn from them, and gain the understanding that we need to access the conclusions they have drawn from our approach. One memorable, but imperfect example, can demonstrate the importance of using discussion about difficult ideas, to share with others, and then using those conclusions to inform your approach to the topic.
I was doing customer service at a restaurant two years ago when I was assigned to an important project. While sitting in the break room, which was required by my contract, I found a small group gathered and having a hard time discussing how to negotiate a manager’s schedule. I took notice and talked to the group about it, telling them that I took the project because we were expected to perform well together and had to get the manager to sign a commitment with a deadline in order to move the project forward.
I told them I wasn’t comfortable going into the manager’s office and asked if there was anyone willing to talk about it. Several hands went up, but one hand was steady. This was John, a 25-year-old senior restaurant manager. John asked why the other guys were trying to work us into the manager’s office without first suggesting the idea to their colleague. I asked John if he would share the opinion and he said, “Um, what do you mean, ‘Could I?’ I believe in it.”
I told him to go ahead and share it with his colleague, that this could give him insight and therefore, could be shared with everyone in the group. I told him to be clear about it and to be persistent in his argument. By the end of the day, the manager had been convinced, and we were a step closer to completion of the project.