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Why you shouldn't comment and correct people, but teach instead


If the amount of stuff that people do wrong is drives you crazy, I suggest that you do something about it. No, I don't suggest starting a "flame war" on Facebook, or giving someone a punch in the nose, although that seems to be the most popular ways of sharing to someone that they may have done something wrong.

Be a teacher. Now, waitaminute, I don't mean that you have to sit at a desk, with an apple on it, with those little "half-moon" glasses slipping down your nose. I mean being a teacher conceptually. Please let me explain.

If you've ever wished that you could "teach someone a lesson" or maybe tell the manager how they should be running their business, you have tasted what it feels like to begin a lesson plan. Yes, it starts with that feeling, as if you can hardly believe that people don't know this stuff. I started teaching computer software in my late 30s, and believe me, there was no lack of misinformation out there. But I didn't stop people in the street and yell at them, instead, I taught classes, and got paid.

And let's face it, some people will never learn. I've known these people. They have skulls as thick as ivory, and they have all of the convictions of the uninformed. I'm sure you've met people like that. But the important thing to remember is that most people aren't like that. Most people don't want to be ignorant, or stupid. They don't want to be making mistakes, and doing stuff wrong. Of course, they don't want someone standing next to them shouting, "Wrong!", but they want to know. I'd say close to 99% of the people I've met have been like that. The 1%, whose brains wouldn't accept correct information if you drilled it in physically, don't really interest me. I let them go. There's an old saying in teaching that "You should never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time, and annoys the pig". So if someone is a pig, save your breath. But the important thing is that most people aren't pigs.

When I started teaching, I had no idea how much wrong stuff people thought they knew. And little by little I learned. So with each class, I would add "common misconceptions", or "common mistakes". People love that kinda stuff! When I started a lesson by saying, "Most people don't know..." I knew that I had an audience that was listening.

So keep your eyes open. Look for stuff in the world that's wrong. Look for the type of ignorance, or false logic, that makes you want to say, "Huh?". Then distance yourself, and share the correct information. I suggest blogging (I've been doing it for many years) or you can volunteer to teach. If you get really good at it, people will pay you to teach. And when you look back, you will find that not only have you made yourself feel better, by getting stuff off of your chest, you have actually helped people.