The Best Way To Learn Is To Teach

Putting yourself in teacher mode forces you outside of your internal monolog and into the realm of understanding.

Jeff Hunter talks about confusion as the moment when you stand at the crossroads of opportunity. When you lean into that feeling and ask “what is this confusion teaching me?” something magical happens. Fear and frustration are replaced with excitement.

Confusion is learning.

For many of us, the confusion starts when someone asks, “Why?” or “How do you know that?” If you have kids, you know this feeling well.

Embracing confusion as a teacher flips the switch. We go from frustrated, fearful, or even angry, to curious and open.

The open mindset is sometimes compared to the child mindset. Curious, innocent, compassionate, questioning. When we engage the open mindset by asking “what does this teach me?”, we can also engage openness by asking “how would I teach this?” Teaching, and being willing to be taught, put you in a learning mindset.

The great physicist and teacher, Richard Feynman reminds us that “the first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” Your internal dialogue is a dangerous setting for ideas. Our ego can easily convince us our ideas are flawless.

The teaching mindset opens your ideas up to critique and scrutiny. Fooling yourself is harder when you’re putting yourself and your ideas out there.

If you’ve not tried it, teaching can feel a little intimidating. To me, it felt like public speaking. In time I realized it’s the opposite. Teaching is a dialogue, not a speech. When done well, it’s a conversation. Even a group adventure.

My favorite teachers took me on a journey to explore myself and my ideas. They piqued my curiosity. That journey was often confusing. I learned that being confused was my body's way of letting me know I was about to learn.

Embrace the confusion. Embrace the curiosity. Teach and be taught.