In the last week I have come across the same quote twice. Perhaps in this media soaked world that’s not surprising but it has caught my interest.
It is from the author Richard Bach who most famously wrote the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” which I am embarrassed to say I have not read.
“We teach best what we most need to learn."
I like it because, to me, this quote says “You will be curious and get joy from exploring approaches to the world that you won’t always be able to execute perfectly. Relax, you're human!"
What do I most need to learn right now? Or rather, what am I teaching a lot at the moment!
The main thing I am teaching people is about how there is a place of agreement with ourselves that comes before any other thing we do. Before I can articulate my life purpose or become an amazing communicator or whatever I will be best equipped if I agree with the fact that I am right here, in this moment. That my body (which includes my brain and my thoughts) is designed in a particular way and I will get the best results if I cooperate with that design first.
This is what I come back to over and over again. For my students and for myself. Over and over. And yet many times I do things without this agreement in place. I tie myself up in knots, contract in my thoughts and movement in order to somehow do 'this activity’ (usually typing or talking) as fast/efficiently/effectively as I can. And it never makes things faster, more efficient or more effective.
Yet I see when this lesson is embraced (by me or someone else) it works. It works so incredibly well.
When I read this quote I get a little relief because I see that my struggle to achieve it, when combined with a curiosity to learn how and a gentle self awareness, is actually what qualifies me to share the lesson with others. If something was completely natural for me and never required any effort to achieve then I would learn less along the path to achieving it and therefore have less valuable insights to share with others who may be curious about the same thing.
This quote kindly invites me to accept what I may call ‘failure’ at my ‘subject’ as an important part of teaching that subject to others.