Teach others what you need to learn


My favorite phrase and my motto comes from the book “Illusions” by Richard Bach, who is perhaps best known as the author of the bestseller “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” Bach wrote, “You teach best what you most need to learn.”  I have found that to be true in my own life.

When you really need something that you also want, but are having difficulty motivating yourself to achieve it, try teaching it. It is the greatest way to reinforce it and make it part of you. As you teach it, you will be working with others who need and want the same lesson. There is so much power in a group. The roles often switch: the teacher becomes the student and the student becomes the teacher.

A personal example is when my daughter was a child and I wanted to be a better parent, I created parenting groups and taught parenting skills as part of my job as an elementary school counselor. Later, when I wanted to be more positive in my life, I created a cable television show called “Positive People.” (Over 30 years that has evolved into the radio show I currently host and produce.)

I use those examples to ask you to examine what it is you need and want at this time in your life. How can you teach others at the same time? Can you create a group? Can you teach a class? Can you work with others who want the same thing? The best teachers are the best students of the subject.

Doing this is not just a learning process: It’s inspirational for you and others and it can be a lot of fun. Every time I interview an expert on some form of positive living, I get my own questions answered. Surround yourself with what it is you want. Swim in that circle of fish. Learn and grow and teach others what you have gained.

There is no greater personal satisfaction than knowing that what you have passed on, whether through your personal experience or professional expertise, has helped someone or changed their life.

The better you are at something, the more you have perfected it, the better position you are in to pass it on to others so that they can then teach what they have most needed to learn. It reminds me of the ebb and flow of the tides. So, as you learn and teach, you are perpetuating this flow and rhythm of life.

You don’t always know who you are affecting. But teaching positive things, things you need to reinforce in your own life, and setting the example by teaching them, can have profound results. You are “casting your bread upon the waters.”

PATRICIA RASKIN, president of Raskin Resources Productions Inc., is an award-winning radio producer and Rhode Island business owner. She is the host of “The Patricia Raskin” show, a radio and podcast coach, and a board member of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.