I started really understanding science when I started working as a lab instructor. Started getting more than half decent when I started taking responsibility for others growth.
I see very strong parallels between my science and my aikido.
"Started getting more than half decent when I started taking responsibility for others growth."
I just had to emphasize this statement again... and again.
This made me remember a story.
I'll try to make this brief. Many years ago (about 25+ if I remember correctly), a very talented budoka who had started learning karate as a child came to us as a godan and took to our stuff like a duck to water. After a few years, he moved away and asked permission to start his own dojo. After a couple of years, he invited me and my son, Aaron to visit for a few days. We took a couple of our young turks with us... the more the merrier, always. After about an hour in the dojo, Aaron and I looked at each other and began to laugh. Everyone was doing extremely well for the amount of time they had been training. None of them had done any martial arts before. Problem was... every one of them, male and female.... looked exactly like a carbon copy of their teacher who was 6'4" or so. Short people were taking 6'4" sized steps, etc. Body idiosyncrasies were the same even down to facial expressions. Kiai were the same, etc.
Imitation can be good... that is, imitation of principle is good in the beginning, but not stylistic mannerisms lock, stock, and barrel. When we pointed it out he was astounded. It hadn't occurred to him, but he saw it right away. It took about a year to correct this. A good lesson for us all.