Do you feel wiser now than perhaps you did about 5, 10 or 20 years ago? Do you have more knowledge, wisdom, understanding and experience now?
I expect you said yes! As we go through life we can’t but help learn from our experiences or even others’ situations. I have certainly learnt to let go of frustration and intolerance. I have learnt how to make hedgerow medicine syrups ready for the winter. I’ve learnt that most things really don’t matter in the big scheme of things and it’s ok to let them go.
Some of the lessons I’ve learnt have needed to be repeated many times before they finally sink in. And that’s the crux of learning ….. how many times do we need to hear or experience or see information or wisdom before we start incorporating it into our lives?
Throughout my career I went on many courses – some more interesting than others. Some, I’m ashamed to say, I quickly forget and never put my new learning into action. Other types of newly acquired knowledge stayed with me for a while and then gradually disappeared. Whilst some new information and learning made such a big impact that it that it has stayed with me ever since.
Learning comes in many guises from the formal to the informal. It may be presented in the form of a course, workshop or masterclass that you attend and are taken through the stages of knowledge that you need to know. The teaching may be through listen and learn, hands on experience or discussion and debate.
You may choose a solo path of learning – reading, researching in your own way to gain further knowledge. These are deliberate choices of wanting or needing to learn about something.
However in a much broader context learning can be daily. The person you notice in the street and how they have taken time to stop and talk to homeless person. A waitress and how they have handled an irate customer in a polite and calm manner. A friend, and how they have got through and coped with a difficult situation. Very young children don’t necessarily consciously learn but absorb learning through play and interaction with others.
We can take our learning from all around us. As the saying goes every person we meet has a message for us but we just need to be open to receive it!
“Once you stop learning, you start dying” Albert Einstein
Some people are shining examples from whom to observe and emulate. There are many global figures like the Dalai Lama that can teach us so much in humanity and wisdom.
However the one crucial element in learning is choosing to assimilate and integrate the new way of being or knowing into our lives – not just being an observer but a participant of becoming a wiser better person.
To do this often requires an element of discomfort that we want to move away from something and towards a better place. For example being fed up with responding in automatic ways to criticism or stress, or having the desire to do something different in your life.
The world is full of knowledge, wisdom and learning but ultimately it is our choice to see this learning, understand it, want it and know why it is important to us. When we know the why and the benefit and gains then we are more likely to step into a wiser self until it’s time to learn again!
“Never stop learning as life never stops teaching” Lin Pernille