Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Reflections - Learning is Living

I've always felt that the day my desire to learn and grow began to diminish would mark the beginning of my death. I'm one of those "sponge" types - I just want to soak up knowledge and learn how to do new things every day of my life. For me, the proverbial day without sunshine isn't one without orange juice - it's a day I've failed to gain any new knowledge or really learn from a life experience.

I guess that's why I tend to be a bit amazed at how many people choose to just maintain their own personal status quo when it comes to expanding their horizons. They finish high school or college and feel that they've done what they need to... put in their time... and whatever they know by that point is just fine with them. They may do fine in life, but mediocrity is often the most they'll achieve. They tend to be the types that leave the learning to others - and are quite okay with never taking on new challenges, or simply brushing off opportunities to learn as being too much work... or too difficult... or too time consuming.

I feel sorry for them in a way. They'll never know the feeling of success and pride that comes with figuring out how to build a treehouse, or fix an appliance, or even write the code for a blog page. When does that happen? What causes people to just give up on learning? Is it because there's no reward system for the average person beyond that sense of personal accomplishment?

If you're a parent (or an aunt or uncle or even an older brother or sister), think back to when one of the little ones in your life finally figured out how to take that first step, or tie their shoes, or ride a bicycle without the training wheels. Remember the smile on their face, the sense of "I DID IT!" that they had? Where does that go? Do people simply get tired of learning? Do they feel so overwhelmed that they simply don't have the energy to learn? I don't think it's boredom - but then, I've rarely found learning to be boring... the instructor perhaps, but never the learning.

Perhaps it's simply the apathy or the sense of entitlement that seems to have become the standard way of life for so many nowadays. Or maybe, just maybe, it's fear. Fear of success? Could be... especially since once you're successful, you're expected to stay that way. That's a pretty daunting expectation to live up to. Fear of failure? I guess it depends on how you define failure. In my world, the only sure way to fail is to never have tried, because even failure brings learning experience. You've learned one way that doesn't work - how many more can you try that might? Maybe it's even the fear of the freedom that knowledge brings. The more expansive your thoughts and experiences, the less tied down you'll feel... life will become more about "want" instead of "need" because you'll be more capable and self-sufficient.

Will you expand your life by learning something new today? It can be something small, or it can be something huge. Erich Fromm, a renowned psychologist, philosopher, humanist, and author, talks about learning and expanding the mind this way:

“Let your mind start a journey through a strange New World. Leave all thoughts of the World you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be... Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and you will live as you‘ve never lived before...”


To Catch The Sun...from MomentsInTheLens**

I believe that within each and every one of us lies the ability to unleash incredible possibilities for success. All we need to remember to do is take the time to learn what we need to learn and then use that knowledge to do what we need to do to make our dreams come true. There is so much available to feed and encourage our minds, and it's all simply for the asking... but first we need to get past whatever it is that holds us back. Where would your vision take you if only you gave it a chance? Toss aside your apathy. Cast off your fears. Embrace your dreams. Learn. Live.


** refers to shops that are undiscovered or underdiscovered and definitely worth a peek!


our home to yours said...

very well said, Karen. Over the past 2 generations, we have become a nation of intitlement. There are way too many sources to blame for this, parents, school, the government. But the bottom line is, we need to change and learn because we are tired of the status quo, and DESIRE to change and learn. This is the only chance at life we get, don't blow it.
- ourhometoyours/xv,

Janet Bocciardi said...

I'm a life-long learner... love to take classes and learn something new! School was always something I loved though. Maybe some folks that hated school don't know that learning can be fun and rewarding.

love the post!

tamdoll said...

Beautiful post! Traditional school was never my favorite thing, but I'm always looking for ways to enrich what I know and am always open to new things. When I'm teaching kids, there's nothing, NOTHING, better than that "aha!" moment when they 'get it'.

"I believe that within each and every one of us lies the ability to unleash incredible possibilities for success." - Yes!

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