Be Teachable

[The second T in ATTITUDE]

ATTITUDE – Authentic, Tenacious, Teachable, Imaginative, Tolerant, Uplifting, Decisive, Energizing

Get out of your own way and be open and WILLING to change. You can do it. John Shin

One of my favorite pastimes is learning—finding out about things I don’t know, meeting people I’ve never met, and exercising my curiosity muscle daily.

To develop a positive attitude about life, one must be “be teachable”. I reinforce this idea in my presentations, with people in my company, in my family, even with people I have yet to meet through articles like these. Maybe that’s you!

Stay hungry for how things work or how they might work differently for you. When your mind remains open, new ideas will find their way inside, and you will change forever.

Even the Playing Field JohnEven the Playing Field

Being teachable evens the playing field. When seasoned veterans in an organization are accessible to the rookies, and willing to share their knowledge, everyone wins!

You might be successful and skilled, know what to say and how to say it, yet you can always learn something from people you meet. And it’s not always skills and techniques. What skill rookies lack is made up for with enthusiasm. If you’ve been around the block a few times, a healthy dose of enthusiasm might be a good thing to energize you. Hang out with newbies and millennials who can offer you a fresh perspective. Absorb some of their energy as if you were at the beach soaking up some sun.

When veteran performers are isolated from incoming rookies or, worse, threatened by them, a barrier exists. This separation discourages sharing of information, ideas, and techniques that could otherwise make an organization stronger. The unspoken message is, “We’re too good, too important, and too busy to make time for you.” As a result, the team suffers. Instead of working together, everyone forms their own island and works in isolation, making it more difficult for everyone, including the more experienced members of the team to succeed.

By helping rookies get stronger in less time, veterans help the workload spread more evenly across the ranks. The adage, “Many hands make light work,” applies to any project, team, or organization. Instead of carrying the entire load by themselves because that’s how they’ve always done things, the old-timers benefit by focusing their energy and efforts on coaching and consulting. In the process, they become open to new perspectives that can help them expand their game.

Don't be a Know it All John ShinDon’t be a Know-it-All

Have you ever met a “know-it-all”, the type of person who thinks they know everything about everything? Someone who finishes your sentences for you before you can even formulate them. Having a conversation with a know-it-all is frustrating, challenging, and tiring.

The problem is their close-mindedness. Know-it-alls have their way of doing things, and regardless of what you know, they are not willing to listen to you or change. They miss opportunities to learn something new, and you will move on to a different source for answers, where a mutually beneficial dialogue is possible.

A lack of new ideas and inputs from outside sources leads to stagnation. The world changes rapidly, and if you are not willing to go with the flow and keep up with new ideas and developments, you will be run over or swept away. The best way to safeguard yourself from becoming outdated is to be teachable.

  • Keep your mind open. This is the only way for new ideas to enter.
  • Be willing to change. New ideas without action are pipe dreams.
  • Share what you know. Teaching others helps them and reinforces what you know.
  • Be teachable.


Stay curious, be flexible, open, and honest. If you do not know something, great! Be excited about not knowing and embrace the quest for knowledge.

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