In David DuChemin's pixelatedimage:blog today, he used a phrase that I often use but have never written about - "having a teachable spirit". Coincidentally, there was an incident last night about being teachable on the TV show - "Dancing With the Stars". My wife was watching and I was playing "Photoshop gopher". You know, that's when you're hunkered down on the couch with Photoshop, you lift your eyes about 1/4 inch above the lid of your Macbook and, while keeping your head stationary, sweep your eyes quickly to-and-fro over the horizon. Then, seeing that all is safe, you pop your head back down again. You do this whenever you hear a sound that catches your attention ... especially if it is something that sounds like, "ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME!?!!"
On this episode, Kate Gosselin, of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" and "I'm so controlling that I drove my husband insane" fame was being taught to dance by one of the the most famous dancers of today and she had the nerve to say - "Tony, you're a great dancer and teacher but you don't know how to teach ME well. You just don't understand ME." (translated: do it my way or the highway!). "Oh gee, Kate, I must have missed that course in dance school: 'How to teach Kate Gosselin to dance.'" That's what I would have said. Tony is more of a gentleman.
Her comment is patently absurd and incredibly insulting but was not unexpected considering the source. Kate is a poster-child for those who can't accept correction; those who don't have a teachable spirit. These people turn everything toward themselves. It's always about them. They are blinded by their self-myopia.
Being teachable is about humility. It is about accepting that we are not God's gift to the universe. We are all in-process. As it says in the Bible, "I am not what I WANT to be ... but I'm also not what I USED to be nor what I WILL be!" (my paraphrase). If we approach life with humility, we will be open to receive the gifts of wisdom and knowledge that others may offer us. Those are GIFTS! They were paid for by someone else and offered to us out of pure kindness. There's nothing worse than ungratefulness. There is a word for that kind of person - ingrate. Look it up.
I can't count how many times I have chosen NOT to share an important lesson or include someone in an opportunity simply because I did not think they would be appreciative and the opportunity would be wasted on them. Kind of like casting pearls before swine (not my words!). I also can't count the times I have included someone in a special opportunity simply because they were especially appreciative ... not even necessarily because they were the best choice or the most skilled.
Let's all learn to be humble, gracious, thankful, polite and ... teachable! Then doors of opportunity will suddenly begin opening that we didn't realize were even there.