Learn from someone who k n o w s what they are doing

apple-256261_640One of my strongest beliefs in life is that you can learn anything.

You might not be skilled at everything, or even know how some things work, but you always have the possibility to learn. This is certainly true these days when extreme amounts of information about literally everything is available to anyone online.

One of the most common, wise, and effective things to do when you want to learn something new is of course to ask someone who already has that skill. Seems simple enough, right?

There is just one problem. Knowing something is not the same thing as being able to teach it.

This is especially true for things we just do without thinking about it; things that we never consciously learned but just feel are a part of us.

For me one example is writing. Since I’m working as a freelance journalist and blogger, a lot of people come to me for writing advice, and I tell them that I have nothing to teach them because I have no idea how I do it. I just write, without thinking about how or in what way it works. I just hear smart things in my head that I want to share and I write them down.

If you want to learn something from someone, you need a teacher who not only has the skill or knowledge you want, but also is able to share it with you it in a pedagogical way. Preferably someone who themselves had to learn it.

What does this have to do with dating, you ask?

Well, it might seem logical to ask a friend who is more successful and skilled than you in his or her dating life for advice. Obviously they know what they are doing. But are they? Or are they just doing it without knowing just what they are doing that create the results? In many cases this is exactly what is happening. So if you ask them for advice, they will probably say something like “it just happens, I don’t really think about it” or “I’m just being myself and meet nice people”.

They’re not saying this to annoy you, this is in fact their very real experience of how it works. But, and this is important, it might not be the least bit helpful or relatable to you, and that is a problem. Because of course you too have tried “not thinking about it” and “meeting nice people”, but with very different results, right?

If you want to learn something, I strongly suggest that you make sure to find someone to learn from who has in fact thought about it, and can relate to your situation. Most of the time that means someone who has actually had to learn it themselves, because nothing gives you more knowledge about the learning curve than actually having to go through it yourself.

And if you want to learn from your naturally skilled friends, put them in a situation where they are in  their zone of genius and watch what they are doing, rather than ask them about it, cause chances are they have no idea.

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