by:  Aria E. Appleford (http://neoscii.blogspot.com/)

Normally I despise the exercises that attempt to explain people by fitting them into neat little groups/packages. Are you a “winter” or a “summer?” Are you a “Blue” or an “Orange.” The world seems full of these psychological profiles, some frivolous and fun, and some well thought out, serious approaches to understanding self and others. One of the most ridiculous I ever heard, which should have been in the former category but unfortunately was presented as the latter, was the Harvard study of determining personality types based on which cubicle was chosen in the public washroom. In most cases, for me, it is simply the first one available. Which probably only indicates the state of my bladder.

Having said that, a wise friend once gave me a saged piece of advice I do believe in.
She told me that people fall into 2 categories. (I am surprised I even listened to the rest of her statement, but I did) She said people are either teachable, or they are not. It is not that unteachable people are never teachable – it is simply that at that precise moment, they are not teachable by YOU.

The importance of being able to discern between the two is that we waste a lot of time and energy trying to teach the unteachable. In doing so, we can miss out on the many others who are ready and waiting, who would learn, take … and move on to teach others. We do not do ourselves any good by wasting our time with those not ready and we certainly do not help the unteachable person.

I have used that all my life to make sure that I make the most of my time and efforts on one hand, and on the other, it causes me to seriously challenge myself. Am I teachable? Why or why not? Am I willing to learn and to challenge my own views? Am I willing to let others challenge my views and accept they might have something more to teach me than I already think I know? Am I willing to submit to the process of discovery?

When I have successfully been able to do that, it is surprising how my need to demonize my adversaries has lessened. I can step away from the personal (which is truly not about them but my uncomfortability with myself in light of what is happening) and look at the situation more objectively. When we respond to people with arrogance (because we feel attacked and vulnerable) they respond, in kind, with arrogance. All this accomplishes is to create rigid pole positions with a frozen wasteland between us. The battle begins, no-one wins, and unfortunately, both sides often take prisoners and create victims along the way by involving others.

I have become intrigued by those that challenge and irritate me. I anticipate the learning that is about to take place as I look deep within to figure out why my reaction in such. I always find some bit of housekeeping that needs to be done, and always an illumination of deeper understanding.

So be teachable with life, make it a goal … and as a teacher … understand who your students are, and who they aren’t!!!

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