Hey, how did you get here?

Grades 9 through 12 were tough. I was transferred to a new school that was much smaller than the one I spent my entire childhood in. Of course, this one was much better! The teachers were sweet, polite and quite empathic. The students, particularly my classmates, were pretty rough except a few good ones — and I’m still close with them to this day!

My biggest challenge, however, wasn’t the bullying. It was academics. Yes, my love affair with sports (cricket, soccer, and hockey) sort of ruined the focus but for the first time in life, I realized that I was dumb. Seriously.

Besides my favorites (English, History, Physical Education, Social Science, Business Studies, Accounting), I flunked almost every other subject. Heck, I didn’t clear them in any term in any of the four years! I was that damn bad! In hindsight, it wasn’t my dumbness but the lack of systems (or “learning methodologies”) that kept me from clearing those subjects.

I sucked at rote learning. I think I still suck at it. I used to and still learn the best by reading, analyzing and thinking about what I read. Post-school, I began to teach or share my learnings with others. And that obviously helped me to build great relationships over the years.

One aspect that has steadily grown onto me since the high school days is my insatiable curiosity to learn more. Especially from the ones who’re better than me. I remember asking each and every classmate all through the grades and several times about “how they study.” More specificially, “hey, how did you get here?” It was a strange question because studies to them meant rote learning whereas for me it was more about understanding something conceptually.

While my dogged persistence helped me gain at least half a dozen different ways to learning by rote, I couldn’t apply even a single strategy myself. Perhaps, I loved the freedom of reading a chapter, breaking down the concepts and explain it in my own way. A pathetic strategy when it comes to scoring well but works brilliantly (as I would learn) for a contextual learner like me!

And although it’s been 17 years since I’ve graduated from high school, my favorite (the most fundamental, perhaps) question that I ask to this day is, “hey, how did you get there?” This simple question has paved way for some of the most outstanding discoveries I’ve made in life. It has made me wiser and sharper for my own good.

Over the past several months, I’ve been toying with the idea of pushing the limits and helping other people realize the power of this question. By letting the experts answer it for you and me. And I guess I have found my answer finally. It’s yet another project that I am working on. You’ll hear more about it soon.

I think John Maxwell said it well with his book titled, “Good leaders ask great questions.”

John Maxwell — Good Leaders Ask Great Questions
%d bloggers like this: