There are four ways to learn:

By Seeing

 

By Hearing

 

By Feeling

 

By Thinking

Seeing and hearing are opposites just as feeling (concrete experience) and thinking (abstract conceptualization) are opposites.

These are the ways that information gets into our minds. Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, and Thinking are the roles of followers, children, students, employees, and anyone at a lower level of energy that are being led.

Leaders, parents, teachers, bosses, and anyone at a higher level of energy that leads have a different set of roles:

For the lower to See, the higher must Show

 

For the lower to Hear, the higher must Tell

 

For the lower to Feel, the higher must Do or have the lower Do

 

For the lower to Think, the higher must Ask

It should be obvious, that the higher – having already been through the stage of being lower – should also be using the lower skills while also using the higher skills.

In other words:

The higher must show but should also be looking to see what the lower does with what is shown

The higher must tell but should also be listening to hear what the lower does with what is told

The higher must do but should also be willing to feel what the lower does

The higher must ask but should also be willing to think about what the lower does in giving answers

 

Stated another way, the four learning methods are:

  • Visual Learning = Seeing / Showing
  • Aural (or Auditory) Learning = Hearing / Telling
  • Kinetic (or Kinaesthetic) Learning = Feeling / Doing
  • Conceptual Learning = Thinking / Asking

When human beings are born, we are at heart Visual and Kinetic learners – while it takes four months for the eyes to fully develop after birth, babies squirm and learn about their bodies. Once the eyes fully develop, human beings quickly expand by copying what we see to get the feeling for ourselves. This is part of the reason babies put things in their mouth – to get a feel for the thing held in the hands. As the child grows, language is learned and we start to become Aural learners, listening to what we are told or asked to do and figure out what the person telling or asking wants to see accomplished. Often, this is a challenging stage because adults use language in ways that assume the listener has the experience to intuitively work out the solution to the situation. For example:

 Imagine a family out to eat for dinner. One of the children starts playing with the salt shaker. A parent asks, “Would you please leave the salt shaker alone?” The child stops playing with the salt shaker and starts playing with the pepper shaker. Then the parent says, “I said to leave that alone.” The child then picks up a fork and starts tapping on a plate. The parent says, “Put that fork down.” The child then picks up a spoon and starts tapping the glass on the table. The parent then grabs the child’s hand, pulling the spoon away, saying, “You need to learn to listen when you are told to do something. Now, stop touching everything on the table!” The child frowns and places hands under the table, rubbing legs. After a few seconds, the child starts to tap the table with a foot. The parent slams a hand down on the table, leans close and hisses, “You had better start listening when I tell you something. Do you want to get a spanking when we get home? Now leave the table alone!” The child swallows hard, looks around and then settles back in the booth. After a few moments, the child starts tapping the booth with a foot.

 In this example, the parent wasn’t seeing what was going on and was getting angry at feeling guidance or instructions were being ignored by the child. In reality, the child did as instructed – the salt was left alone, same with the pepper, the fork was put down, the child stopped touching things on the table, and the child left the table alone. In each case that the parent asked or instructed the child to do something, the child complied.

However, this whole turn of events – and the parent’s escalating negative attitude towards the child’s behaviorcould have been avoided if the parent had done things slightly different.

The parent *never* asked the child to demonstrate self-control (which is when my mind controls my body and my emotions). Rather than dictate to the child, once the child started playing with the salt shaker (which the parent didn’t want to occur) the parent should have started by asking, “Do you know what self-control is?” Now the child’s mind, eyes, and ears are engaged with the parent instead of the parent allowing the child’s mind to use the child’s body to engage with the items in the environment. Unless the child knows the definition of Self-Control, the child will say, “I don’t know” or words to that effect (assuming the parent has any rapport with the child in the first place).

This presents the parent with the opportunity to explain to the child, “Self-Control is when my mind controls my body and my emotions. It’s different from Parent-Control, which is when my parents control my body and my emotions. Does that make sense? So, when you play with the salt shaker, is that Self-Control or Salt-Shaker-Control?” To which the child will answer, “Salt-Shaker-Control.” The parent can then challenge the child’s mind, “Very good. Now, can you show me Self-Control by sitting with your hands and feet to yourself?”

In this request, the parent has now challenged the child to take all the child’s energy which naturally wants to move outward and, instead, direct it inward towards sitting still. The child then starts sitting with purpose and intent. The parent can then recognize the child’s good efforts by saying, “Nice job, you look great!”

 

In the above example, if the parent were speaking to another adult, when the request of “Would you please leave the salt shaker alone” would most likely be interpreted to mean: stop playing with things and pay attention. That is because adults use language different from children and understand the differences between what is literally said and what is actually mean. Children tend to be much more literal minded because they are developing an understanding of language and the rules of communication – both implicit and explicit.

The Five Steps to Teaching, Leading, Motivating, or Communicating

 

In the first step to teaching/leading/motivation/communicating, the higher should start by asking questions:

First Step

This allows the higher to gain an insight into where the lower is operating, focused, or what the lower understands. It also reveals how the lower uses language (for example: little kids don’t get puns). Once the lower’s position is understood, the higher can begin to lead.

Armed with an understanding, the second step is to tell the lower:

Second Step

The level of communication depends on the age, experience, and sophistication of the lower. Most adults over-explain to children and dictate to teenagers when it should be the other way around (basically dictate to children and explain outcomes while involving teenagers in the explanation and reasoning behind decisions and actions). At the most basic level of telling, the names of things should be given.

The third step is to show the lower what was explained (step 2: this is sparring stance, step 3: here’s what it looks like):

Third Step

The forth step is to have the lower experience what was told and shown, to gain experience and awareness with the body by doing it:

Fourth Step

The final step of this process is to return to asking questions to see if the lower understood the point of what was said, shown, and done.

Final Step (unless you need to repeat!)

In this final step, if the lower did not get the point, the higher can drop his or her energy level to use simpler or more basic examples. If the lower understood the lesson, the higher can raise his or her energy level to give more complicated or advanced examples. The ability of the higher – the leader, teacher, parent, or boss – to raise and lower energy levels turns this drawing from a two-dimensional diagram to a three-dimensional spiral.

 

As a Leader, if you run through the above five steps and do not get the outcome you are looking to achieve… run it again. If you still do not get the outcome you are looking to achieve, then you know that you must change what you are doing for the person with which you are working at the current moment.

For example, if you are primarily Telling what you want to achieve then you should switch to Doing, Showing or Asking. It is for this reason that the best Leaders and teachers make a conscious effort to function at the middle of the diagram. By being between Seeing and Hearing, and between Feeling and Thinking, you give yourself the best ability to adapt yourself to a given situation. And remember to recognize that what worked today may not work tomorrow; keep being flexible in your application of what you know!

I trust this short treatise gives you some food for thought and helps you to modify your communication style to help those in your lives, both Higher and Lower than yourself.

Make it an Outstanding Day (or afternoon, or evening – whenever you read this), and I’ll see you when I see you!

Sincerely,
Jeremy R., the Kung Fu Guy

The final step of this process is to return to asking questions to see if the lower understood the point of what was said, shown, and done.