When was the last time someone let you copy from them?

It was often part of being one of the smart kids in a particular subject. Other kids would ask to copy your work - or might copy it without asking. Either way, it was generally seen as a form of cheating.

Maybe we should rethink the way we teach our kids to learn. The most effective way of learning in the workplace is to do exactly what you were taught was cheating - to copy someone who has more skill or gets better results than you do.

If you are blessed with a wonderful teacher, you enjoy learning and you get results. But most of the people who excel in the workplace are not wonderful teachers: they are busy professionals making the most of each of their days to get their own results. We can try to turn them into teachers, or we can learn to watch and listen and copy better than ever before. That way, the better their results, the more likely we are to be able to replicate them.

I learned NLP from a wonderful teacher who seldom taught at all: he just let me pay close enough attention to understand how he was getting results. He not only let me copy him: he encouraged it. As a result, I picked up both the skill and the ability to describe it to others as I described it to myself while I was learning.

If you're really good at something, consider noticing that person who is watching from afar and invite them to get a little closer. You don't have to be a teacher and you don't have to hold hands. Just let them copy you for awhile.


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