What interests you? What engages you? What inspires you? What captivates you? What do you like talking about so much that you could do it all day, including the weekends? Each of us has a topic we’re so passionate about that we would be natural teachers of it as the best teachers are 100% engaging and passionate about their subject.
The U.S. history teacher makes United States’ events come alive through great storytelling and fun facts.
The art teacher exudes enthusiasm through her engaging interest and by setting the example of creative artistic expression.
The coach inspires through her story of executive behavior change. She recently guided a hard-charging, change averse executive through its difficulties and tribulations, and he came out ahead, better for having been through the experience. Now, his personal and professional relationships are enhanced.
The software marketer excites through solving difficult problems, enabling typical end users to navigate the app to accomplish their goals, saving time and money and headache.
The strength coach instills discipline and encouragement into his bodybuilder client who seeks a 10% edge in the upcoming competition.
The aviation history professor engages students in the miracle of flight through his enthusiasm for the material, his videos on the subject matter, and his narration of the industry’s struggle and its progress. Even for matters as mundane as public policy, his unique angle on it keeps kids engaged and curious, seeking to understand further.
Curiosity into how something works or why something is the way it is creates the foundation of good teaching and coaching. It is also the gateway to innovation. Early innovative ideas include asking good questions, such as, “What would happen if…” or “If we reversed the order of sequence, what does that look like?” or “Can we achieve the same result by deleting three steps or combining them into one?” The best teachers and innovators are curious and 100% interested in the topic. Our work and contributions improve when our questions improve. Better questions cause deeper, more thorough thinking.
Executive coaches improve their skills and the skills of their clients by asking more questions and giving less advice. In short, being curious. We give advice by default. Most of us are professional advice givers, especially the unsolicited kind. To really drive home personal and professional change, it is far better if the subject, the client, generates his own potential solutions through consistent questioning on the part of the coach. Even throwing spitballs is better than having his coach or advisor tell him what to do. Discovering or eventually generating our own answer to what puzzles us makes it stick because it gives us ownership in learning. It turns out, your teacher was right when she made you look something up vs. her telling you the answer. She was teaching you ownership in learning by doing. She was making it stick by doing less.
Being completely immersed in a topic makes us interesting. Our passion rubs off onto others. You may even find yourself inspiring others with your enthusiasm and not even know it. If you couple passionate persistence with a definitive mission you believe in, you are unstoppable. And who doesn’t want to be unstoppable? You wake up every day thinking, I can’t believe I get to do this today. This is so awesome. Everyone could use more of that style of thinking in their day-to-day duties. And when you wake up every day thinking you can’t believe you get to do what you get to do, gratitude automatically follows.
Gratitude improves your thinking. Because you cannot be grateful and [insert your negative emotion here] at the same time. You cannot be grateful and jealous at the same time. You cannot be grateful and envious at the same time. You cannot be grateful and disgusted at the same time. Gratitude thoroughly trumps all of these negative emotions. The difficulty with gratitude is it does not come naturally. We have to practice it. We have to generate it like we would any positive emotion. We are not naturally positive thinkers, either. We have to generate those positive thoughts and emotions each day, multiple times per day. They don’t just pop in there without a lot of practice first. It is a discipline. With a lot of daily practice in thought and habit, we eventually arrive at I can’t believe I get to do this today vs. Oh, God, here we go…I can’t believe I have to do this today…Again!
Tim Ferriss discusses his 5 minute journal on gratitude. He knows that gratitude is not something that comes naturally to us. We therefore have to sit down and generate things for which to be grateful. He notes the connection between gratitude and happiness, between gratitude and eliminating negative human emotions. Tim’s Five Minute Journal is simply a quick writing practice on three to five things you’re grateful for that day. Of course, gratitude isn’t weighted by importance or cost or perceived value. It is weighted by practice, by generating it ourselves. The thinking and writing it down is the practice.