One of the easy ways to become a better and happier human being is practicing gratitude. The subject is large, and I want to touch it very briefly. Since we deal with learning, I suggest practicing gratitude to people who teach you.
While we think that formal education is broken, there are still great teachers out there. A great teacher will not only explain his subject but also change the way we live. For example, when I was a child I had a great math teacher named Alexander. He had a profound effect on my life:
- He taught me to love math. Mathematical intuition and curiosity are subjects notoriously hard to teach. They should be taught when kids are relatively young since math is highly structured and if we miss foundations we will be in trouble later on.
- Some of the kids in my class are still my friends 30 years later. We are very different people living in 3 countries all around the globe. This is not a trivial thing, and there was a strong effect of the teacher’s leadership and mediation when we were young.
- Asking the right questions is tough. I think Alexander was the first teacher who really taught me to ask the right questions, not only in learning but in life.
- Anna is the person who taught me to read fast and remember things: I got into these techniques by virtue of marriage.
- When I disagreed with Anna’s methods she did not dismiss my findings, but urged me to develop my personal learning style.
- Anna also pushed me to teach. Teaching is hard for me, so I needed relentless support and firm believe in me to try and fail until things started to work.
Here I want to focus on the effect of my wife Anna on my life. I am infinitely grateful to my wife for my three wonderful kids, yet her effect on my life is deeper.
Students we learn from
We taught Jonathan how to read faster and remember more. Jonathan opened for us the huge community of people we teach. Scaling our methodologies to global audience is not something we could do by ourselves, and I am still learning from Jonathan how to reach people and enrich their lives.
Friends and colleagues
Different people can have strange and wonderful perspectives. There is always more than one way to address something. In this sense, I think of my friend and colleague Anthony Metivier who developed a very different and wonderful perspective on mental palaces and memorization techniques, teaching and writing. He helped me develop many additional perspectives on things that I do. Every time I have a long conversation with Anthony I learn something new and wonderful.
People who question me
Hopefully, I will never have real enemies, but there are many people who question me and question everything I say or do. There is no real way to improve but failing. I failed more than once. I prefer to fail a thousand times in conversations and simulations, than to fail once in real time. A special thanks go to the people who detect my mistakes and make me do a better job.
I have a full-time job developing new cutting edge technologies, but this is not the focus of this paragraph. My truly meaningful work is teaching people to learn better. Thank you, all of my students and readers, for allowing me to touch your life and open my heart. If I could make your lives a little bit better, the time I spend teaching was well-spent.
Practicing gratitude is recommended by all coaches. It would be best to practice gratitude every day. If not, do use special occasions like the end of the year to practice gratitude…