A few weeks ago, Reshan and I spoke with writer and artist Austin Kleon about the ways in which learning and studying fuel his creative practice. I’m in the process of editing the interview for publication, but this quote, from Reshan (a) won’t be included in the final version of the interview and (b) is completely worth noting / pondering. So here it is, dusted off and ready to inspire:
Almost every interaction is a learning experience. It’s just a matter of whether it’s institutional, i.e., in some kind of school or training context, or informal. If you accept that as true, then you can look at almost every element of life and ask, am I experiencing [blank] in a way that I want to learn about it? Or, on the flip-side, am I helping others, for whom I’m responsible, experience [blank] in a way that they want to learn about it?
In our recent book, we encourage business and salespeople to approach their work like good teachers — to really start to think about how the people with whom they interact can be moved to learn and become curious and enthusiastic. Because, really, to close the deal, whether it’s a lesson in a classroom or a massive contract, that’s where you need people to arrive. Are the people involved, who need to be converted, interested in this? Are they curious? Do they intrinsically want to engage with whatever I’m saying or selling?
So I have a seven, five, and three year old, and my wife and I are both educators. Our perspective on school is that it’s only going to be able to do so much. But are our kids happy? Are they safe? Do they have friends? Do they have people they can talk to and puzzle through things with? As long as those things are covered, everything should work out, educationally speaking. Of course, as parents, we have to do some work, too. We have to give them experiences and take them on adventures. The learning goal of school and parenting and partnerships between the two is to ensure that curiosity builds in young people.