Want to learn something? Teach it to others

Want to learn something? Teach it to others
There are many benefits of teaching – Inpsyder Tobias talks about some.

Our first blog post in our Advent Calendar 2018 is published – and it’s about benefits of teaching. Inpsyder Tobias argues that if you really want to learn something, you should teach it to others.

When I started into my working life, I always tried to teach whatever I was doing to others. Not only because I wanted to share my knowledge and skills with others for altruistic reasons – but because it helped me to get better at what I was doing.

I’ve been building websites since the late 90s. And the personal websites I built for myself also had a strong focus on sharing and organizing knowledge and making it available to other people. Most of my ventures in this area were centered around personal development and how to lead a happy and fulfilled life, which is a long-lasting passion of mine (and led me to write about teaching instead of coding techniques when I was asked to provide something of value to our 2018 advent calendar).

And also in my later jobs, I flourished when I got the possibility to share what I do with others, guide them, and help them succeed.

But apart from the intrinsic motivation that I simply enjoy helping others succeed, I always became more successful myself. When I was working in sales (which I did a few times throughout my life), my own success always skyrocketed when I got the chance to work with someone else and guide them to success.

And also in programming, I often only really got to the bottom of a topic when I was either preparing a blog post, sharing knowledge and ideas with others, or answering questions. Only through others, I got to realize my own blind spots and got to a deeper understanding of topics. Which led me to a strong belief that the best way to learn something is to teach it to others.

So without further ado, here are:

My top 5 benefits of teaching stuff to others:

1. I am more motivated to really go deep

When I am working on a project, most of the time I only learn what is necessary to complete the task at hand. And when I take the time to read about a new topic or learn a new skill, then I often stop when I believe that I „got it“, or that I learned „enough“.

But when I’m preparing to teach it to others – be it in a blog post (my favorite way of teaching), a speech, or a video – I want to do my job as good as possible. I don’t want to let others down. So when I focus on teaching, I automatically start to question things, and I am more motivated to get to the bottom of the topic.

2. I get immediate feedback

When I’m in the process of teaching, I have the chance to get feedback from the people I’m teaching to. They ask questions. They challenge my knowledge and my belief and show me where I might be wrong, or point out holes in my knowledge. And I often get new ideas, and get to see things from a different perspective, which always leads to a deeper and broader understanding.

3. I provide value to others

When I share my knowledge, skills and experience with others, I am providing value to them. And providing value to others in some way is the basis of all relationships, and the more value is exchanged, the more stable and strong a relationship becomes, and the more valuable the people involved become to each other.

4. I ultimately get a better programmer …

By teaching to others, I gain more knowledge myself. And through teaching, I often use examples that I built to demonstrate something that I want to teach. And that alone helps me every day when I try to solve a problem. Because then I can take what I learned and apply it to my daily work.

5. … and a better person

Last but not least, teaching makes me more humble. The more I teach, and the more I learn, the clearer I see what I don’t know. And that alone makes me more understanding, patient and forgiving – towards others as well as towards myself. I realize that life is not about becoming perfect or better than all others, but about growing as a person. Which is a slow and tedious process sometimes.

Start teaching … today!

So if you what to grow as a person, and if you want to accelerate your learning, start teaching today. There are endless possibilities for teaching and providing value to others in some way:

  • Write a blog post, and publish it
  • Prepare a speech – for your team, your company, a local user group, or a conference
  • Record a video about a topic
  • Answer questions from others
  • Share an idea on social media
  • Write a book, and publish it yourself
  • Build and provide a course – online or offline

What other ideas do you have to share ideas and knowledge with others? And what other benefits of teaching do you get? Share them in the comments (and realize that you just taught something to others ?)


* Many thanks to John Schnobrich for the photo we are using in this blogpost header.