A few days ago I wrote a blog on how our egos are the greatest enemy to greatness. I explained how a teachable spirit can catapult you to greatness. However, someone asked me how they can develop a teachable spirit. Does having a teachable spirit come naturally? I think it does to some, but to many who are like me, it does not. We naturally treasure our egos and our perspectives too much to have a teachable spirit. But is there a way we can develop a teachable spirit? I think so.
A few years ago I was a very hard-headed leader. On the outside I was the nice ones who say all the right things but on the inside I was as rebellious as it comes. I had no room for a teachable-spirit. You can read more here. However, as God would have it, this was the one lesson He was not going to allow me to escape. I have a more teachable spirit now. They say you either learn some things the hard way or the easy way, either way if God has a plan for you, some lessons there is no escaping. And therein lies the first way to develop a teachable spirit, recognize why it is important to be teachable then go to the Best Teacher of all time. This for me is the key, the beginning, the all-time answer. Sometimes I am sure I see God SMH’ing me, but each time He molds me, He teaches me, He finds a way through my heart.
When you have a heart that is open to God, when your first desire is for God, even when you are a hard rock, He gets through to you. He has your manual so all he needs is access and He will mold you.
The other ways you can develop a teachable spirit is….
Every single ounce of time and money I have spent in serving others, has broken my hard-headed spirit into a teachable spirit. Service is only possible when you wear humility. Without humility there will be every reason to pack your bags and go enjoy your otherwise awesome life. But as I have served in prisons, as I have served in various ministries, as God has required me to be humble inorder to serve His people, my hard-headedness was broken. Bit by bit I died to self. Bit by bit I recognized how inadequate I was on my own. Bit by bit I lifted my Hands up in full dependence to God. Service teaches servanthood in ways nothing else can.
Many people imagine that guys serve because it is a good way to pass time but nothing could be more far from it. I still remember 2011 as the year I gave myself fully to service of mankind. I was as busy as a woman could be at work, I clocked 9am to 11pm on most weekdays at work, but every weekend, the one thing I really looked up to, was the hours spent in service in church and in prisons. By April 2012 I was too tired to handle service and my long working hours and one had to go. And yes, the well-paying job had to go in place of some more hours of service. My madness started then, not today.
There is nothing more fulfilling than service, to know God allowed you the privilege to be at the forefront of a movie of transforming people’s lives. You, a mere human being. It takes you back to a very humble place. You learn what David meant when he said these words, ‘who am I…’ I wrote this blog here on one of those days after an amazing season of service.
So yes, serve others. An unteachable spirit is always the fruit of a self-centered life. When you lift your eyes away from yourself, to others, to levels you can never go on your own, you humble yourself and go to the feet of others to learn.
Lastly, teach yourself to be quiet.
Rev Kyula released a video on this a couple of weeks ago. He explained how a few months ago, a group of people approached him wanting to meet with this great leader who was visiting Kenya. He pulled every card to enable them meet the guy. But to his disappointment, the guys did not shut up once. They rumbled on and on, and after about an hour, they asked the guy to now tell them what he thought. Unfortunately their time was up and he did not share his thoughts.
Shut up and listen. Our world has taught us the value of talking, the value of expressing your thoughts but it has not taught us about the gem that is listening. We often feel the need to show other how much we know, lest they think we are the most foolish people. But a teachable spirit, a true Learning Leader knows to be quiet. Even when you think you know, when you are truly quiet, you will always be amazed at the things you can learn.
This comment that I quoted in the last blog is still applicable, “What are some of the ways learning leaders demonstrate their commitment? Well, they listen with close attention, observe with a discerning eye, and read texts of all kinds-including the texts of people’s experiences-with critical acumen.
Listening is underrated. We are always competing to fill in quiet spaces. However, the greatest lessons I have learned have all been in the quiet moments, when I choose to shut up, listen and learn. When I realise I do not know it all, when I realise I can know even more by shutting up and listening.
So there, three tips to develop a teachable spirit, God, Serve and Listen.
“When you enter a new environment, your task is to learn and absorb as much as possible…You drop all of your preconceptions about an environment or field, any lingering feelings of smugness. You have no fears. You are full of curiosity. Assuming this sensation of inferiority, your mind will open up and you will have a hunger to learn.” Mastery by Robert Green, more tips here