I would imagine a kindly old man appearing in front of me with a chalkboard and a pointer, tapping away as he gently made his points in an easy-to-comprehend outline form. For good measure, he would give me a summary handout at the end of his cheery little talk, pat me on my back, and wish me well on my journey.
Never happened that way.
I found that some of my best teachers were the most irritating people I’ve met, the ones who rubbed me the wrong way, who rocked my boat until water was getting my brand-new shoes wet. How inconsiderate.
And all to often I realized that the teachers had been there for a long time, waiting for me to notice them. Time wasted, opportunity ignored.
So now when my buttons get pushed (and I’m steadfastly working at diminishing my buttons), I ask myself effective, empowering questions: “What does this person have to teach me?” “When can I learn from this?” “How can I use this experience to grow?” “How can I get ready for my next lesson?” “How can I best prepare myself?”