Repost: Why experts are not the best teachers

Why Experts are not the Best Teachers | The Psychology of Wellbeing.

Good teaching requires a beginner’s mind.

This made a lot of sense to me. It’s not that everyone who is really excellent in a field of endeavor is a bad teacher.

It’s that teaching is a separate skill that involves communicating how to do something. Many experts don’t know how they do it. The whole field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) came about because of this. It started with modeling excellence in people who had no idea how they did what they did so well.

A good teacher, besides knowing her stuff, is also good at tuning into the learner’s current level, putting herself in the student’s shoes, and discerning what the best next step is in terms of developing mastery.

The Japanese word shoshin means beginner’s mind.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few. ~ Shunryu Suzuki

 

Boundaries checklist for healthy relationships

Relationships : A Checklist on Boundaries in a Relationship.

I believe I have posted this before, but if I haven’t, here it is now. It contrasts relationships where you give up your boundaries and when your boundaries are intact. I’ve found it helpful and bookmarked it.

It includes skills like being clear about your preferences and acting on them (I heard Byron Katie say she’s constantly asking herself what she wants), doing more when it gets results, trusting your own intuition, and only being satisfied when you are thriving (rather than coping and surviving).

Some items that I’m resonating with now:

  • Having a personal standard, albeit flexible, that applies to everyone and asks for accountability.
  • Are strongly affected by your partner’s behavior and take it as information.
  • Let yourself feel anger, say “ouch” and embark upon a program of change.
  • Honor intuitions and distinguish them from wishes.
  • Mostly feel secure and clear.
  • Are living a life that mostly approximates what you always wanted for yourself.
  • Decide how, to what extent, and how long you will be committed.

About the last one, I’m liking the new law in Mexico City that allows time-limited marriages. The couple agrees how long they want to be married. The minimum is two years. When the time is up, they either go their separate ways without divorcing or remarry for another period of time.

Love that idea. Wouldn’t it be great to have no more expensive, difficult, embittered divorces? To have a built-in time to reassess how well a relationship is going and together decide whether and for how long to continue it without getting involved with lawyers and courts?

That’s civilized, in my opinion.

~~~

Aug. 20, 2013

I’m adding another resource to this post, which continues to get views long after its original posting. It’s an article about toxic relationship habits that most people think are normal.

The article points out:

…part of the problem is that many unhealthy relationship habits are baked into our culture. We worship romantic love — you know, that dizzying and irrational romantic love that somehow finds breaking china plates on the wall in a fit of tears somewhat endearing — and scoff at practicality or unconventional sexualities. Men and women are raised to objectify each other and to objectify the relationships they’re in. Thus our partners are often seen as assets rather than someone to share mutual emotional support.

A lot of the self help literature out there isn’t helpful either (no, men and women are notfrom different planets, you over-generalizing prick.) And for most of us, mom and dad surely weren’t the best examples either.

Fortunately, there’s been a lot of psychological research into healthy and happy relationships the past few decades and there are some general principles that keep popping up consistently that most people are unaware of or don’t follow.

Here’s the link: 6 Toxic Relationship Habits that Most People Think Are Normal. 

 

The anatomy of lying: An interview with Sam Harris

Anatomy of Lying | Brain Pickings.

This repost from Brain Pickings is worthwhile reading, very good food for thought. It’s an interview with Sam Harris, author of Lying, which is available as a free ebook on Amazon through August 5.

As one who has valued tact over honesty in the past, I’m rethinking that stance. I have opinions, biases, associations, memories, judgments, emotions, rules, blind spots, and an internal bullshit detector, like everyone else (I assume). Redefining “the truth” as accurately communicating one’s subjective experience (and presenting it as such) motivates me to be more honest.

Why not share our subjective realities? Why not put my integrity first, instead of protecting someone else’s feelings so they’ll like me? Every interaction between people creates a bit of consensual reality. Why not share what’s really going on? Honesty is liberating. I love those people with whom I can really be myself.

And yes, maybe not everyone needs to hear your truth. For instance, telling your mom’s boss at a Catholic school that you’re an atheist will not go over well, especially when her job is putting food in your belly. But what about your friends and those you’re closest to? Do they know the real you?

At least one study suggests that 10 percent of communication between spouses is deceptive. Another has found that 38 percent of encounters among college students contain lies. However, researchers have discovered that even liars rate their deceptive interactions as less pleasant than truthful ones. This is not terribly surprising: We know that trust is deeply rewarding and that deception and suspicion are two sides of the same coin. Research suggests that all forms of lying — including white lies meant to spare the feelings of others — are associated with poorer-quality relationships…

But what could be wrong with truly ‘white’ lies? First, they are still lies. And in telling them, we incur all the problems of being less than straightforward in our dealings with other people. Sincerity, authenticity, integrity, mutual understanding — these and other sources of moral wealth are destroyed the moment we deliberately misrepresent our beliefs, whether or not our lies are ever discovered.

And while we imagine that we tell certain lies out of compassion for others, it is rarely difficult to spot the damage we do in the process. By lying, we deny our friends access to reality — and their resulting ignorance often harms them in ways we did not anticipate. Our friends may act on our falsehoods, or fail to solve problems that could have been solved only on the basis of good information. Rather often, to lie is to infringe upon the freedom of those we care about.

What do you think? How do you feel about this issue?

Moving through a loss

This is just a short post to say that a dear teacher whose trainings and workshops I have been attending and assisting at for the past five years left this earthly life behind on Tuesday. I had just spent Saturday with him, and he was in the finest form I’ve ever seen him.

His name was Tom Best. He taught Neuro-Linguistic Programming officially, but really, he taught love, congruence, presence, playfulness, communication both verbal and nonverbal, life skills, trance, healing, and shamanic practices. He did it clearly and cleanly, with a lot of elegance and very little ego.

He lived his life fully and deeply and from what I can tell, left nothing undone. And so it’s not as sad as some deaths.

I will post more about Tom later after this process of integrating the loss and the gifts has cooked some more.

Love to you all.

Enneagram communication styles

Did you know that some people never ask questions?

Some people are very talented at telling stories and anecdotes.

Some people are fabulous at flirting, raising it to an art form and practicing it on everyone they meet.

There are those who crack really funny one-liners and hilarious nonsequiturs.

Some are good with groups. Some prefer long, one-on-one conversations.

Some talk compulsively. Some experience silence with another as a kind of communion.

And sometimes there are holes in conversations, gaps in communication styles.

Sometimes anecdotes seem random, disconnected from what came before, and I find myself wondering (usually later) where the other person might have been going with that or what brought it up in the first place.

Sometimes I’ve put words in others’ mouths instead of letting them tell it their way.

And interestingly, sometimes when I am getting to know someone, a part of them that I’ve never met before will enter the conversation. It can be startling to me, while the part is so ingrained in them they’re not even aware of it.

I find communication — and people — fascinating.

I don’t read minds. I do what I call fake mind reading, trying to understand other people’s motivations, hidden emotions, directions, and so on. Yep, I make up stories about people and why they are the way they are. I’m working on letting go of that desire. It’s not that easy, I tell you! I am addicted to “understanding”.

To refresh myself and share with you, I’m consulting one of my favorite books on the Enneagram, The Enneagram of Liberation: From Fixation to Freedom, by Eli Jaxon-Bear. (Eli is Gangaji’s husband, if you didn’t know, and an expert on Enneagram as a spiritual growth tool.)

Below I’ve provided a brief description of each Enneagram type’s talking style. You may recognize yourself, or more likely, someone you know well will come to mind. Those who know you well may be able to tell you what your most characteristic communication style is.

Please keep in mind that these are generalizations! Twos do not give advice all the time!

Ones’ talking style is preaching, lecturing, sermonizing.

Two: Giving advice.

Three: Propaganda, selling, “the bottom line”.

Four: Lamentation, gossip, responsive to others’ moods.

Five: Systematic discussions (like this blog post! ha ha! ; ) ), investigations, silence.

Six: Setting limits, needing to know the rules, questioning authority.

Seven: Telling stories, charming others, improvisation.

Eight: Laying trips, challenging, pushing buttons.

Nine: Telling a saga or long story, putting listeners into trance.

If you are interested in using the Enneagram as a tool for personal growth, I recommend getting a copy of this book.