Thursday, February 7, 2013

The unteachables

There are just some people out there in the world that are downright unteachable.  Lately I've run into a few people that are absolutely unteachable.  It's not like these folks are mentally deficient or damaged or have any physical ailments.  They just can't seem to learn anything new.

This is very hard for me to understand.  In fact, I've found myself frustrated and baffled by the situations.  I'm a person that loves to learn new things.  Sure, I have my favorite areas of interest, and I enjoy learning new things in those particular areas the best.  However, if I have to learn a new way of doing things or a new way of thinking about things, I'll give it my best shot.  I know I've told you in past blog posts that I'm an ISTJ in the Myers Briggs psychological typing.  Traditionally the ISTJ type likes tried and true methods of doing things.  Yeah, that's mostly how I roll.  Yet, I like to hear how other people do things.  And, if I'm forced into learning a new way to do things, for example the big switch at work from Microsoft Outlook to Google Gmail, I'll do it.  And, I will do it the best I can.

Lately I've run into those folks that won't learn.  I'm sure they CAN learn, but they don't want to learn.  In fact, they spend more time and energy trying to change everyone they meet to do things their way instead of learning the way things are done in their new situation.  It's amazing to watch this happen. 

I've encountered a couple individuals spending thousands of dollars trying to change the way social networking works instead of just keeping off the twitter account, facebook account and blabbing on the web altogether.  I've run into people at work trying to change the way we do business at my office to the way they were used to doing things at their old office instead of adjusting to the way we do things here.

How do you know if you are one of the unteachable?  I have a few indicators I'll share with you.

  • Do you talk non-stop?  Will you, seriously, not stop talking long enough to hear what someone is trying to say to you?  If you are doing all the talking, you are doing none of the listening.
  • Do you nod your head up and down and say "yeah" or "uh huh" or "I see" or something equally patronizing?  Do you say "yeah, but...?"  If you are butting all the time, you aren't listening.  A bunch of buts usually means you are trying to teach them, not learn.
  • Do you ask questions?  This is critical to being teachable.  Teachable people ask pertinent questions.  Were you trying to understand or were you trying to be understood?  A person can't ask questions if they are not really listening.
  • Do you ever apply something someone has told you or something you have read to a situation in your life?  If you don't ever use anything you may have inadvertently picked up by reading or accidentally overhearing something, you may be unteachable.
  • Do you have an opinion on everything?  Opinions are like noses, everyone has one.  If you have an opinion on absolutely EVERYTHING and you feel the need to share your opinion with absolutely EVERYONE, you aren't trying to learn.  You are trying to teach.
Even the bible tells us to have a teachable spirit.

1 Peter 5:5:  Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 13:18:  Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.

2 Timothy 3:16:  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Proverbs 12:1:  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Be a teachable person.  It's worth the effort.
135.  Friends with mad building and repairing skills
136.  Enough patience to get the insurance company to pay for our flu shots
137.  Living near a town named Loveville (isn't this a great place to send Valentines from?)
138.  Going to the movies with a good friend
139.  Learning new things from the bloggers I read
140.  Listening to christian music on the radio on the drive into work
141.  Learning how to sharpen a knife with a honing stick (I love the way chefs do that thing with the knife and the stick, but I'm a lot slower at it)


  1. nice...i am all about the questions...i seek understanding...and its not bad having opinions...for me its different when you are unwilling to listen though...

  2. Excellent post. Yes it is sometimes best to not invest the energy and effort into people who truly don't want to learn. It is like beating your head against a brick wall. Feels so good when you stop. Not saying these folks will remain in that condition. But there are plenty of people out there who will listen and learn. Best to invest our time wisely. Thanks for the insight as usual.


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