Yesterday, I jumped around on the trampoline with my three youngest kids, at separate times. With my daughter, Emily, I was brave enough to try a back flip (probably my first since the four stitches incident). Emily tried too.

I know how to flip on the trampoline but could not communicate to her how to make one’s body move in that way.

Knowing how to do something doesn’t mean you know how to teach it, much less make you a teacher. (Teachers everywhere agree vigorously, while a handful of “life coaches” everywhere probably don’t.)

There are many steps in teaching, but at a minimum, one needs to know how to:
1. Explain it,
2. Observe performance variations objectively, and
3. Identify the root cause of errors (not just the error but the root cause).
I know I repeated myself in the last bullet, but it is important enough to deserve it.

I think this relates to learning to fly and learning to drive, as well as how long it takes to learn. Implicit in each of those is finding the balance between self-directed learning and enlisting a teacher.

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.

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You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs.

Some writers practice their craft every single day. Some people learn something new daily. Some pilots fly every single day.

In some cases, it is like a hiker who leaves the base camp and hikes for one hour up the mountain and one hour back to the start point. You could repeat this for years, never venturing farther into the unknown, never reaching the summit.

Quantity is not always better. And maybe practice doesn’t make perfect.

Sure, the hiker who does this daily will improve insidiously. Maybe he goes a few feet farther each day. But reaching the peak requires something more, something different.

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.

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You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs.

Last time, I said that were two kinds of “data.” This same categorization applies to learning.

Some learning takes place instantly. “It’s colder today than yesterday.” Instantly may mean from one day to the next, or it may mean from one second to the next.

Other learning accumulates over much longer periods–days, months, or even years. Only through intentional rumination do we assimilate these lessons. Using the previous example, this second kind of learning may be a general characterization about the fall weather in a particular region over several years.

This latter kind of learning doesn’t happen by accident.

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.

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You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs.