How To Be a Good Student. This applies to all of us!

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be good at learning to flyThis post may sound like it is targeted at folks in training, but it really applies to all of us. It assumes that we are all “students” in some form or fashion. Let me explain.

You see it doesn’t matter if you are a 787 driver with decades of experience and you flew F-15s prior to your airline gig, we should all consider ourselves students. You likely remember the adage that a good pilot is always learning – so that makes you a full-time student. 
Here’s another thing to consider – everyone you come in contact with is a teacher. Some “teachers” are actually showing you how NOT to do something, but that’s ok as long as you can detect the difference. I try to make it a point to see the lessons that are coming my way from a myriad of sources, some are unlikely, but you’ll be surprised at what happens when you open your eyes to this concept. 
So now that we have firmly established each other as students, let’s talk about how to be a “good student.”
Being a first-class student is a deliberate act. We must focus on the following key attributes if we are to call ourselves disciples of flying.
Be a good listener. In the everyday world you need to be in listening mode if you are going to pick up on the lessons that people are bestowing upon you, albeit unintentionally. In the training mode, Instructors know that they will have to repeat themselves a lot in the course of training, but don’t make it worse by not listening. You are causing both parties to be agitated and if left unchecked it negatively impact your progress. 
Don’t be a know-it-all. Pet Peeve Alert! This one drives me crazy. I had a few of these students when I was teaching full-time and it was a miserable experience. It’s important that you take things seriously and know your stuff, but you don’t have to be self-righteous about it. Again this concept translates to situations outside of formal training as well.
Be self-critical, but don’t overdo it. Another area that needs mentioning is having the appropriate balance between critiquing yourself and being crushed every time you make a little mistake. This isn’t always easy and it may change for you depending on the situation, but we should pay attention to how we are behaving in regards to this and adjust as necessary. You have to hold yourself to high standards, but also allow yourself to falter. “I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan.
Work hard. When you put out the effort, good things happen. That is no truer than when we are students. This applies to academics and actual lessons. Putting your heart and soul into learning is the best method, period. 
Don’t accept mediocrity. Sometimes it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Worse yet is a student who not only doesn’t care, but they will actually argue with you that they are “good enough.” I love this quote by Vince Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable.  But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” 
Being a student of flying is not an easy task and since we are all full-time students when should strive to do it well. These are just a few of my thoughts, but I’d love to hear what you have to say on the subject. Just reply below or send me an email.
I will leave you with one final quote; “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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