Skip to Navigation

The old saying “You can lead a goat to water, but you can’t make it drink”, came to mind yesterday as I was ruminating.

Whether it is through formal teaching or simply in our daily lives we are constantly trying to influence or persuade others. It could be that we have an idea that we think would be useful to them, or that we’d like them to change their behaviour. At the same time, we are all perpetual students, in that we are constantly having to learn new things and take on board new ideas in the ebb and flow of our lives and routines.

I have spent a lot of my professional life helping people learn things that might be useful to them, and consequently I’ve put a lot of time and effort into thinking about how to make the process more effective. Whether it is in the classroom, lecture theatre, therapy session or as a parent, the idea is to help people take on new ideas that could be useful to them, or abandon old ones that are limiting them in some way.

One thing I have learned in my attempts to help others learn and change, is just what a hit-and-miss affair it is. Classroom convention is laborious and wasteful of time and resources, and ‘teaching’ does not automatically result in ‘learning’. The brilliance our ideas and the  attractiveness the packaging have little to do with learning new things and changing behaviour. People take on new ideas best when the time is right for them, and then they can do it a lot more quickly than tradition dictates.

Whatever the motives of the teacher people learn when it suits them. And goats, hoses and most other creatures tend to drink only when thirsty.

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Selective Optimism for Pessimists

There are advantages to optimism that are worth considering, but some people are put off because they don’t want to be disloyal to negativity.

Optimism and pessimism are generally seen as opposites, but that doesn’t mean they are mutually exclusive; learning optimism does not mean abandoning negativity. If that is what turns you on, stick with it.

If you tend towards a pessimistic outlook, how about learning selective optimism? That way you can get the benefits and still be true to your negativity.

Continue reading

Work-life happiness

There’s life and there’s the job, right? Wrong. Instead of treating work and home as disjointed parts of the same existence, Anna Tims suggests a change in perception rather than a change in circumstances, and so re-infuse our lives with greater purpose and fulfilment. Work is not necessarily the enemy if it is managed correctly, and it can all be achieved without you having to trek through rain forests, climb a mountain or wear sackcloth.

Continue reading

How to Still Your Mind

control your thinking

The easiest way to think about not thinking is to start doing. Taking steps to become more aware of our physical experience is one way, but there are others. I’ve published a one-pay handout which you can download free.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: