Questions inspire answers. Everyone has an opinion, complaint, or judgement. Sometimes the best answer is to ask a better question.
So, you want to become a better hunter, fisherman, or sportsman. Start by finding a great mentor, teacher, or role model. Now ask the best questions you can. Be honest about your weaknesses and be open minded. Ask great questions. The truth is, you will probably not like the answer you are given. Instead, you want the answer that you can own.
Now “Listen!” When I was a young fly fisherman, I went to a seminar being taught by Lefty Kreh. He is the greatest fly fisherman I know. My casting stroke was poor and it had to be the rod, line, or something that was not about me. After demonstrating a few of my sloppy loops, he asked me, “What kind of girls did I like?” I had no clue how this was relevant but I told him that “I liked girls with big smiles!” Next, he had me cast and say, “I like girls with big smiles!”, and come forward with the cast on “smiles!” The problem with my cast was in the timing. I was moving the rod too fast. Using the phrase allowed me to know the exact moment when the line had flowed completely backward, and loaded the rod, for the return cast. Lefty’s question became my answer!
The best answers are the ones that you discover through trial and error, or personal experience. Humans learn best when they make a Big, Fat, Mistake. If it hurts, makes you feel bad, or costs you money, or pride, the sting will help you avoid making the mistake again.
Make it your own! Whatever answer that you come up with, put your twist on it. If you find a successful fly, add some of your own color to it. If you hunt an area that was shared with you, look at the maps and find a similar one.
Often, we tend to listen less, and are too anxious to give our input. Clarify the question with another question. Construct your questions so that they lead you to the answer. If the questioner comes to the answer on their own, they will use it, remember it, and grow.
When I perform seminars at outdoor shows, clubs, or schools, I ask the viewers to take at least one thing away with them. This challenge usually leads to more retention. The audience wants to be entertained, but they also have some questions they would like answered.
So, the next time you have a question, or answer, try listening more closely, and more often. You will be surprised what you hear!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.