Teaching/Imparting Knowledge Effortlessly

Sunday, 21 May 2006

I teach part time at Kaduna Business School (www.kbs-edu.net) and since November 2005, I usually have this experience while I am teaching that can best be described as the experience known in emotional intelligence circles as FLOW. I can practically walk into a class and loose myself in it, have lots of fun and by the time I leave, have the class enjoying themselves. Yesterday, I had this lecture on Creativity & Innovation that lasted for 6 hours! and I had fun all the way – I know the class also had fun. This experience is what I call teaching effortlessly; the objective is to help my class learn effortlessly.

It is a well known fact from the field of neuro-linguistic programming that the more effort you put in memorising something, the harder it is to memorise. Well how do I do it? First and foremost, at some point in the past, I have paid the price to know my stuff (read different books, articles and listened to some blogs), I have reflected deeply on my own moments of creativity (what went through my mind, the environment, the role of my current emotional state etc) so in one word – I have earned the right to stand in front of them and talk on the subject at hand (I’ve done so with emotional intelligence, personal effectiveness, managerial psychology and leadership). Next, I anticipate eagerly to meet the class and share my own perspective – this last bit is very important: I don’t consider my lecture THE perspective. Thirdly, I make the class a discussion rather than a lecture – this way I engage other knowledgeable people within the class and align them to my objectives. I also keep an open mind about the interrelatedness of knowledge – I see my main role in the class as ensuring that whatever branch of knowledge my class delves into, I can extract the lesson that is relevant to our current objectives and also make the whole class see this. Now, even if as a participant you doubt by competence, you are almost always infected by my passion and my intellectual humility (am not so sure about the last one – but I am working on it). By respecting the right of everyone in the class to contribute to the subject matter, I stifle emotional resistance to me.

In my classes, I always try to use many metaphors and games – these send the message to the right brain where it really sticks. It is more active learning because when I finally explain the concept behind the metaphor or game, the immediately grasp it. From beginning to end, I always remain detached from the results of the class – I don’t worry if they will praise or criticize me. I believe this is the only way to teach for six hours straight (2pm to 8 pm) and not die of physical exhaustion at the end. In a class of about twenty people who have already spent the entire morning (8 am to 1 pm) in lectures, I think it was amazing that only two people dozed for a few minutes during my stint – It really takes two to have fun teaching! Shalom!



The Place of God in the Search for Excellence & Perfection

Saturday, 20 May 2006 – 08:09am

I woke up this morning without any intention to compose a post for the blog. I launched my Bible (e-Sword) and read my morning devotion and this quote from Hoekstra’s daily devotion caught my attention:

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, which the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Let me digress a little and set the whole premise upon which the title of my blog is based: Excellence of the type I dream of can only be experienced by a person that pursues self mastery. Self mastery is to me the key to unlocking all the potential (or as much of it as we humanly can) that is buried within us and stifled through years upon years of social conditioning and compliance. I will explore in depth the issue of what Self Mastery means to me in a latter blog but suffice it to say for now that without it, we forever are computers running programmes written by others.

So the treasure mentioned in the above verse to me is that quality of sublime excellence and effortless perfection and the earthen vessels refer to us. I believe that I was created by a Supreme Being (no I didn’t evolve from some lower life-form) and I also believe in the fact that as a created being, excellence & effortless perfection can only come when I am living the purpose for which I was made. Now, the purpose of a creation can only be found in one place – the mind of its maker – in my case God. So to live a life of excellence and effortless perfection, I must be living according to the purpose for which I was made and that purpose is something I must find. I don’t believe in the generic purpose of ‘I am here to worship God’ – If God wanted people just to worship Him, he would have created more angels. I believe that as God formed me uniquely from every other person, He had some specific mission in mind for me. Our world can be perfect if everyone fulfils his own purpose for being here – in doing so and letting the Wonder of God’s creation shine – we will be worshiping him in truth, with out whole being, with our lives. It is in the process of self mastery that we get to know and pursue that unique purpose for which we were created and unless God were to choose you and reveal it to you in a vision one night while you are sleeping, it takes a long process with many false turns. Once you find that purpose – the journey of self mastery continues – now on the path that has been revealed to you. Self mastery is to me a journey to the ‘inside’ of us and I believe that is where God is to be found, until we find God in our hearts/spirits, we won’t be able to see him in the next person, in the blades of grass, in the river or the situation that begs for our intervention.

Beginnings Are Hard – Thread Softly

I have been thinking of starting a blog for somewhile, I have contemplated the topic, the content etc and just when I decide its going to be about Self Mastery – on the day I signed up at blogger.com, I get the news that an uncle in Cameroon just died.

Death! Ah death – that which puts so much fear in the heart of man, that which brings so much pain and so I start my blog with a personal reflection on death. First of all the death of a loved one is always a painful experience. Somehow you can’t bring yourself to think that ‘I won’t see him, talk to him share the pleasure of his/her companionship anymore’. I have come to believe that when two people have a good relationship between them – they become interwoven into each other’s beings, souls or spirits. So when a loved one dies, part of you really dies with them – all the emotional investment in that person, all the support (physical, emotional and spiritual) seems in that moment to have gone in smoke.

I am an African – from Cameroon to be specific and it has always amazed me how the west seemingly trivializes death in its popular media. But it got me thinking, ‘Why do we mourn so much?’ I now know that in most parts of Africa, especially amidst economic hardship, family bonds and attachment to loved ones are the only anchors to a happy, meaningful life. So when a loved one dies and more specifically when someone who is the breadwinner dies in a family, we mourn, not only for the loss of a friend, a brother, a sister, an uncle or a parent, but we also mourn for the loss of the source of livelihood, we mourn for the loss of he/she that feeds us, clothes us and pays our school fees. Selfish? I don’t have any opinion on that but that feeling of fear of uncertainty (something I believe Self Mastery in pursuit of Excellence can help us with) is really dreadful and here has so many components than I can tell anyone who has never experienced it.

Going back to my loss, let me try and put it in perspective – I mourn that I have lost an uncle, but beyond that, I am very closely attached to my cousin – Carine (the late uncle’s daughter), so I also feel her pain – at this moment, my pain is more as a result of her than anything else. I feel for six children who no longer have a father – the sole bread earner in the family. I feel for a woman who will experience what it means to be an unemployed widow with at least three more children to put through school and feed and clothe all by herself without any form of formal social security. All these almost cripple me but writing this helps – I can bring it out and perhaps deal better with it.

Yet despite my sad beginings, I believe that the Search for Excellence & Perfection must continue, everyone must in order to become immune to the pains to this world discover who s/he is, what they believe in and come to grips with death, poverty, injustice, hate, racism and all the other things by which we cripple our lives. Next blog, I hope to delve deeper into a description of my own quest for meaningpurposeexcellenceperfection.
Tamon M.A