Four Questions About Learning …

image“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”

George Santayana


No argument here … I find that every day brings new learning.  Given the pace of change we currently enjoy, that’s little surprise.

It approaches trivial to repeat the much –stated idea that the more we know, the more we know we do not know.  I know for sure that I know much less of the world than I thought I did a few years ago.  Curse you, Google searchSmile.


The questions to ponder with regard to continual learn is this:

How are you identifying what you need to learn?

How are you planning to learn?

What resources will you use to learn?

How will you know when you have learned it?

If your answer to any of the above is “I dunno”, then you have some work to do.

Getting busy on my own personal learning plans in the Heartland …



I Have a Question …

Puzzled Look“We do not grow by knowing all of the answers, but rather by living with the questions.”  (Max Dupree)

I have a question for you this morning …

Why are we so reluctant to ask questions?

In a group, most people sit and quietly listen …

In a class, most students listen and take notes …

During a meeting, people do all kinds of things …

… But asking a thoughtful and well-stated question is relatively rare in these situations, at least in my experience.

I teach with an emphasis on Socratic questioning, which just means asking questions to get students to think longer and in more depth about the topic.

When I coach or counsel, questions are my primary tool to help others gain insight and develop strategies for change.

Questions create dialogues.  Questions stimulate thought.  Questions matter.

Questions are the tools that unlock our potential, create our realities, and prepare us for our futures.   

Even in these situations, where questions are frequent and often useful, most people do not ask them.   As a person whose motivation is to help others, this is quite frustrating.

“Confidence never comes from having all the answers, but rather from being open to all the questions.”    (Earl Gray Stevens)

Therefore, the question of the morning remains:

Why are we so reluctant to ask questions?

… or is my experience abnormal enough to nullify this question?

Asking lots of questions this morning in the Heartland ….


Making Plans …














Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…Make big plans, aim high in hope and work.

Daniel H. Burnham

Why accomplish small things when you can accomplish big things by adjusting your aim and vision?

When we start talking about stirring someone’s blood, you had best be stirring your own first.  Then you can see to motivating others to join your quest or even begin their own.

I personally believe that the largest blocks to this way of thinking consists of our own fears about what might happen.

So if you must fear something, fear this:

I won’t try and thus insure my own failure …

Trying to follow my own advice in the Heartland …


Vision …



Sometimes our vision is cloudy, the details vague and indistinct …

Vision 2

Sometimes we cannot see because much is hidden and we glimpse only a part …

Our tendency is to become frustrated or despair that we will never know what we need to know.  We might even deny that what we seek really exists.   These responses are not useful to us.

What we seek to know is there … we just cannot see it yet.

When an airplane takes off, even in very stormy weather, it eventually climbs beyond the clouds and we are dazzlingly reminded that the sun shines every day, whether we see it or not.

Even if we are just gazing at the clouds, they eventually drift and change.  Nothing remains the same.

Just thought I should remind you … something to consider over the weekend, as you grapple with whatever life is handing you to grapple with.  Maybe you need help seeing through the mist or enlarging the scope of your vision.

Trying to look beyond the haze in the Heartland ….


Leeway …

File:Leeway Angle.jpg

Do you plan some leeway into your actions?

Me too …


I often allow for a “skoosh”more room in my clothes.

The bank account may have a few extra dollars in it  … at least on good months.

I overestimate the time needed to complete something, by a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few something …

I give a student some leeway on an assignment turned in a little late.



We tend to use the term “leeway” in two ways:

1) Some amount of extra time or space for what we do.

2)  Giving someone the benefit of the doubt


We rarely use this term in the spirit of the original definition:

“ … the amount of drift motion to leeward of an object floating in the water caused by the component of the wind vector that is perpendicular to the object’s forward motion.[   (Wikipedia)


If you asked me how I determined the amount of leeway for the activity, I would smile and say “I just add a little” and try to change the subject.   The reality is that I am guessing at how much extra I may need.

We tend to think of leeway as some nebulous amount of extra space that we plug into our planning …

However, leeway is a calculated and measurable as defined and illustrated above is a little more exact than this.  Figuring it requires that you measure and quantify the situation, the effects, and the desired outcome.


“A few” becomes  “six” or “until point B is reached” or some other easily identifiable marker.


How would your actions and planning change if you adopted a more intentional approach to figuring your leeway?


Maybe a little more specific and measurable leeway, based on something more than a guess?


Maybe the parameters of expected actions and behaviors would be clearer?


Just asking …


Trying to figure out exactly how much leeway these pants need before I buy the next biggest size in the Heartland ….