A few years ago I had the privilege of speaking to a group of colleagues voluntarily attending my day-long session as part of their professional development. As we began at 8:00 a.m., a not-so-new employee said to me (in front of the group), “This better be good! I cannot imagine what you could possibly have to say to me or teach me that I don’t already know and is more important than the work that’s piling up on my desk while I am here!”
As the group sat open-mouthed and awaited my reply, I mentally ran through what I could say that would not insult the employee or alienate the other participants. Now, years later, I do not recall my exact response. It must have been satisfactory because no one walked out, everyone actively participated, and there were nothing but kudos at the end of the day…including an apology (!) from my early critic.
More recently and under different circumstances, a workshop participant kept sending me nonverbal clues loud and clear about her extreme displeasure and disbelief of what I was presenting. Halfway through the program she interrupted everyone to declare that our session was merely a repeat of things she already knew and a waste of time for her and everyone in that room. Did I not know that I was “preaching to the choir”? The audience rushed to disagree and kept repeating that the complainer was not speaking for them.
No matter what the subject is – whether or not it is repetitious of previous lessons or encounters and no matter how many times you’ve seen it, done it, read it, heard it – the value of having a different person present the information to you is priceless. Each time we are informed, re-informed, and taught yet again, we come closer to realizing new perspectives on the same-old, same-old.
A wise training instructor once said that a participant will benefit from a workshop or presentation in direct proportion to the openness of his/her mind. Growth, maturity, and change happen only when you consider and accept new nuggets of knowledge. If the window to your mind is closed, can the warmth and light of a new perspective penetrate?
- Are you too old to change a habit?
- Have you learned all there is to learn?
- Once you form an opinion, is it really impossible to reverse your thinking?
The answer to each of these questions is NO. Why? Because to stop learning, changing, and growing is to die an intellectual death and never see the world with fresh eyes.
With hope for you and your new perspective,