How to learn: Watching my five year old

Lately, I’ve been worried if I will be able to learn everything I need to manage and grow my company. As this is the fourth company, I thought I would be so much smoother and more knowledgeable.

That’s simply not the case. I have some understanding and experience but I feel myself at a loss sometimes at how to improve, how to get better, basically how to learn. This is tough. I wonder if I will ever improve, if I have done the right thing, if I ever will, etc. My fears start to roost in my head and their crowing crowds out everything else. Not a fun experience.

Then something happens that smacks me over the head to realize how silly I am being.

Andrew rides his scooterMy five year son loves the scooter his auntie bought him. This scooter is almost as beloved as his collection of NYC subway cars. If you have (or had) a five year boy in NYC, you know how important that is. Over the past few weeks, we’ve frequently gone out so he can ride his scooter .

Unfortunately, riding a scooter hasn’t come easy to him. He’s been falling, tripping, tumbling and just all around not “scooting” around. I’ve been trying to teach him, to show him, to encourage him, but he’s a lot like his father and doesn’t take well to getting advice. Also, he gets frustrated at his inability to do what he thinks he needs to be able to do, yelling at the scooter, the sidewalk, even the trees for being in his way. Once again I wonder where he gets that from. So, our last few outings have included quite a few complaints around the scooter not working, how stupid it is, and wondering if a bike wouldn’t be better.

I was surprised this morning when he told me he wanted to ride his scooter, but it was a sunny morning and a walk to the farmer’s market sounded fun, so off we went.

And I was amazed once we got outside… off he went. He scooted! He stood on one foot, pushed off and at times even fully rode with both feet on the scooter balancing as he zoomed off. He was beautiful to watch.

I was wondering how he suddenly was able to do this; where this beginning of expertise, ease and almost swagger came from. Then it dawned on me. It came from all the times he fell over, crashed into something, took a tumble and yet got back up and tried it again, and again and believe me, yet again. He didn’t give up.

My little guy reminded me that being stubborn and not giving up is the truest way to improve; to learn. Now, I have to make my mistakes and get back up, until I can scoot along better.

Thank gawd, I have a five year old son to learn from.

Besides watching five year olds, how do you learn? Leave me your favorite ways to learn down in the comments.