We Learn Best from Other People

The title of this posting is one of my favorite phrases. I am quite sure those who know me best would say it has “broken record” status in the coaching I like to share.

“We learn best from other people” is the core belief of the Daily Five Minutes (our workplace tool which is the nucleus of the Managing with Aloha philosophy). It is a tool turned habit, in which conversation rules supreme. We can get into each other’s heads in a natural way through conversation, and with the good intention of learning about what is there, so to fully honor and respect the immense wonder of someone’s mana‘o (their thoughts, beliefs and convictions).

“We learn best from other people” is the ever-present mantra that sings in the background of this and every blog within our Ho‘ohana Publishing ‘Ohana; I love blogging because it triggers conversations within our community, and at times more globally. The conversational potential of the blogging platform is amazing, whether those conversations are held on the blog itself or triggered elsewhere throughout our hub of communications.

The missions of Managing with Aloha (delivered by my business, Say Leadership Coaching) and Ho‘ohana Publishing (delivered by Writing with Aloha) are my learning and talking story constants keeping me ever-grounded yet feeling happily, busily productive.

Then every autumn, “We learn best from other people” returns to me in a long-standing seasonal habit of self-coaching in which I seek to say “thank you” to the people who add so much to my life. Culminating in Thanksgiving, November is wonderfully made for Mahalo, our value of appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness. I edit much task-related project work out of my life within October’s Sweet Closure initiative, but not people: I edit task out diligently and purposefully so people have more room to step into my attentions again as the holidays approach.

With Aloha

This year however, I am thinking my Mahalo must be much more conversational, and I find I am wondering how to make that happen in a more meaningful way. To merely say “thank you” is not enough, no matter how sincere I might be in speaking those words (and though we don’t say them enough, I don’t believe they should be said lightly either). This is a gut feeling, plain and simple; I have a greater conversational need (and to be more accurate, mine is a greater listening need), and I have learned to listen to these feelings of spirit-spilling when they make themselves known to me.

MY MANA‘O (what I believe to be true) ~ ~ ~

In Hawai‘i, many kÅ«puna (elders) will say there is a reason our gut is at our physical center. Our heads and hearts must come lower; one must get out of the clouds and the other out of the clutches of others. Second, the elemental feeling we get from the land under our feet must rise up and be held in higher esteem, for there is divine power in the ‘āina, and it is our sense of place. Third, we must care about others, but we must care about ourselves first, and enough to connect to our own source, our aloha. So it is only natural that our gut (na‘au) is the true seat of our wisdom (na‘auao), for it is where all these things come together to center us with good balance.

This makes a lot of sense to me, because I experience it so much, and very gratefully so.
—From Managing with Aloha Coaching

We now live in a world where technology has changed so much with the way we communicate. We email, we text, we Twitter. We lifestream, blog and self-publish. We star in our own mini movies and post them on YouTube for all to see. Yet do we realize how much of these new ‘communications’ are ways we broadcast more than listen, doing so with a very limited audience?

I’m one who loves these new tools and if you are reading this you know I use them extensively, but in this coming holiday season I am newly committing to the art of one-on-one in-person communication. I want to live up to the name of this blog in a more focused way. I want to talk story, and learn what I can from the best library and collection of wisdom which exists in our world: Other people, especially while they are still gracing our earthly living with their presence.

New technology communications and talk-story conversations have something in common: They are only as good as what you are willing to devote to them. No input, no output. However talk-story conversations have a big advantage: You don’t need to buy something, plug it in, program it and learn to use it. You aren’t limited to others who have the same tool; for instance I am fully aware that I only reach others with Twitter accounts when I tweet, and they largely have my same habits. Those I want to learn from most, so I can grow and improve in a more diverse way are probably not there, much as I wish they were. For instance children who can teach me to play again, and to wonder again, are not there: I need to reach them personally, and talk to them on their turf and not mine. The kÅ«puna, our elders who can share so much history and life experience with us, teaching us to better navigate our futures, are not there: I need to reach them personally too.

People surround us, waiting for us to interview them, and ask them questions about what is most important to them, and why.

The people around us have the potential to be the best teachers we have ever had, and ever will have. They are open books, written with the wealth of their past experiences, yet reading beyond the past tense. They continue to be vibrantly alive, perpetually thinking, and willing to share their thinking with us, wrapped in both the simplicity and complexity of that beautiful weaving of belief and conviction we in Hawai‘i call their mana‘o. All we have to do is ask. But do we? Sincerely, and genuinely ready to listen as patiently and completely as need be?

In the coming weeks, I will give my thanks for the mana‘o which lives within the children and elders I am blessed to have close in my life. I invite you to join me, and to newly experience for yourself how “we learn best from other people.”

Here is what you can expect from me here:

I want to return to our Talking Story conversational basics, interspersed within the management and leadership commitment I have to Say “Alakai” ”“ that is important too, or I wouldn’t do it at all.

I want to return to a review of the Daily Five Minutes ® and the workplace Huddle, and I will be doing a hunt-and-seek throughout all my Ho‘ohana Publishing archives to see what conversational gems we should review again in this quest to learn best from other people.

I hope you decide to take this quest with me.

My mana‘o [The Backstory of this posting]
Recently my postings more exclusive to Talking Story has been project-personal and transparent: I am working on my October Ho‘ohana of Sweet Closure along with you. If you are just joining us and would like to read them in order, this article would be number 5 on this list:

  1. Is it Time for Your Alaka‘i Abundance?
  2. October’s Ho‘ohana: Sweet Closure
  3. The Ho‘ohana Story of Your Year
  4. A Copy of the Best is Still a Copy (Your wanting is not selfish!)

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  1. […] ‘Ike loa is the value of learning and knowledge, and in using the Daily 5 Minutes, you will get to know your staff exceptionally well while simultaneously improving both your listening skills and your relationship with them. You will discover the knowledge which resides in other people, and believe me, We Learn Best from Other People. […]