MAUREEN TWEYONGYERE: The value of maintaining a teachable attitude


Maureen Tweyongyere, Director MUBS Career &Skills Development Centre;
Member of the National Taskforce on enhancement of Labor productivity (PHOTO /Courtesy) 

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Never let go of your appetite to go after new ideas, new experiences, new adventure.” Steve Jobs

It is said that there has been an astounding growth in the generation and accumulation of information and knowledge in the last 20 years. The growth/ change in 20 years is more than what has been accumulated in the last10,000 years. This means that everyday there’s new knowledge coming up and it is important that people continue to learn. Things are changing enormously. When the computers came in the 1950s, the IBM was able to develop several giant computers whose processing capacity was so small when seen today, but these computers occupied huge buildings. This did not change until the 1980s when the Personal Computer was invented. Thanks to Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak along with IBM. Since then, the computer has changed immensely. Buying a computer in the 1980s you had to spend over 30,000 thousand dollars but today a good computer or a tab or just a laptop, you would buy one for about 500 dollars. In between there, a lot of things and information have been generated and this brings the cause for people to continue to be teachable.

If you are teachable, you continue to learn. Life keeps on changing and as it changes you also learn or change. You learn that your body gets tired, that you get from the soft body to the one with wrinkles. You learn that you get from black hair to no hair or, to white hair. All these are lessons that we get. If you are not willing to be taught, definitely you will never be able to learn. Being teachable is extremely important because knowledge never stops being generated and everything that we see or produce needs to be operated; has to be ran and to be able to do that people should be taught how this is done.

How do you remain teachable? It is very important for you to be aware that you don’t know it all. This means being able to manage your ego because there are people who are ‘I know it all’. They do not know but because of the huge ego, they say that they know. If you are going to remain teachable, you must know that you cannot know it all and that you can seek assistance from others. You can also learn on your own and so it is very important for you to have that position that yes you don’t know everything. You must accept that there is so much knowledge out there and you must be willing to learn.

The starting point is to develop passion for knowledge, knowledge is something that makes you different. And if you want to be teachable, you must have passion for seeking out new knowledge and being able to get it. Another important factor is being able to listen. Like Steve Covey says, “Many people do not listen to understand; they listen to reply.” Many of us never listen and the result of that we miss out on many things.

When we miss out on signals about certain things that we do not know; we are talking all the time. To be able to be teachable you must be a person who is willing to listen to others. Listen to all the noise that comes from different people, The other important thing, is to be open minded. Knowledge is so much and is unlimited; you may be an accountant and you may wish to know what happens in medicine, architecture or, engineering. If you are open minded, when you listen to an architect, medical doctor speaking you will realize that you do not know and maybe you simply need to know a little information in that area. If you have an open mind, you are likely to be teachable. You will be able to grab more information and accept to be taught by others.

Open minded people are curious. Curiosity is about looking for and asking what is new in different places and being able to learn from that newness. Being curious about things; why does this happen that way, why does the sun come out from the East not West. That curiosity enables us to know that actually the sun does not set or rise; it keeps orbiting around the world. For the ordinary mind the sun rises and sets; for the curious knowledgeable mind, the sun does not rise; it is the orbiting of the earth and the sun that makes it appear that way. Why does the sun have so much power.

These are things out of curiosity your able to learn. Be willing to learn because when you are passionate about things probably the most important thing to do is go out there and learn about them and from different sources. In your own career, what is new that is happening in there. Know what is taking place for you want to remain relevant. If you are not teachable, you will become irrelevant. The best thing to do is to develop and maintain a teachable attitude for you to be able to successfully compete in this evolving work environment. Stay hungry, stay foolish!

This write, Maureen Tweyongyere, is the Director MUBS Career &Skills Development Centre; Member of the National Taskforce on enhancement of Labor productivity

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