25 Mar Watch and learn
My seven-year-old son came into the bedroom this morning carrying his new skateboard, saying “I’ve worked out how to make this turn – you just lean your weight to one side and then it turns that way”. As he’s only been out on it once with, shall we say, limited results, we asked how he knew this. “I watched other people and figured out that’s what they do,” he said.
We were struck by the precise analysis which he had undertaken whilst ostensibly just watching older kids in the park. It reminded me how much we learn from others simply by observation and following our interest.
Action is fundamental to securing learning. But we sometimes forget how much we can also pick up from others. We are, after all, social animals. Arguably, one of the ways we have evolved as far as we have is through our capacity to learn from others – we don’t all have to pull the lion’s tail to realise that it will turn round and eat us.
Today, as every day, you will be surrounded by people doing all sorts of great things: perhaps teaching a wonderful geography lesson, handling a tricky conversation with dignity and respect – or weaving a skateboard safely around other people in the park.
You can learn from each and every one of them. Think about a strength you’re keen to develop, and look around you to find someone who demonstrates it well. By observing closely what they do and reflecting on what made the difference, you can learn how to make your next action more effective.