A Typical Life?
I gotta be honest, I really like my life. Of course I have my moments (being human and all), but for the most part, it rocks. Not a day goes by where I am not thankful for, or totally aware of, what I have and what I’ve been given. Of course it’s not always a normal, conventional or typical life by any means (but who has that?) – and sure, I’ve disappointed my long-suffering mother by not providing her with the expected grandchildren to this point in time – but it’s a fun life nonetheless. Sorry about that, Mary. I’ll do better.
Naah, I probably won’t.
What do You Like Most About Your Life?
Anyhoozle… someone asked me recently what I like most about my life. “Good question”, I replied. I pondered for a moment and while I get to do lots of cool things, I concluded that the funnest (a word) thing about my life right now is the people I get to meet and learn from. To say I meet a broad cross-section of people would be a massive understatement. From elite athletes to fat business people. From celebrities to people battling life-threatening diseases. From the arrogant to the humble. From the powerless to the powerful. From the well-known to the unknown. From the financially rich to the spiritually rich. From prisoners to prophets. From the angry to the enlightened. And from the obsessed to the apathetic. Yep, they have all taught me something. Knowingly or not. Intentionally or not.
Interestingly, some of the most negative, self-obsessed, self-destructive and problem-focused people have taught me the most. Specifically, how not to be and what not to do.
Where we Choose to Learn
I have always been a keen observer of people and a passionate student of human behaviour; even as a young boy. Long before I understood what the term behavioural psychology meant, I was studying people, absorbing and processing information and learning lessons. Life lessons. People lessons. Communication lessons. Leadership lessons. Management lessons. Lessons about manipulation, influence, power, humility, fear, health, success, attitude, happiness… and a whole lot more. While I enjoyed school and university (to a point), I have always understood that (for me) there were many more valuable truths to be uncovered beyond the (traditional) classroom. I have always found people to be fascinating, inspiring, curious, amazing, confusing, selfish, selfless, fearful, courageous and profoundly interesting creatures.
I have learned that being a student is a choice. As is humility. As is honesty. As is personal growth.
My Philosophy on Learning
I have a somewhat “cheesy” mantra that I wheel out periodically and while I hate the over-used, self-help cliches that typify so much of what’s painful and annoying about the field of personal development, the following statement is an accurate and honest representation of my attitude towards learning:
“The world is my classroom, each day is a new lesson and every person I meet is my teacher.”
As trite as it might sound, the above ideology can be both enlightening and transformational when we truly understand and embrace the power and potential that comes from living in this kind of paradigm.
In truth, some people have not learned (listened, changed, grown, improved, adapted, paid attention, asked a question) in twenty years; just take a look at the kind of results they produce, how little of their ability they use, how much of their time they waste and how their existence is typically one of repetition, frustration and mediocrity. And complaining. Groundhog Day for the perpetually miserable and unfulfilled. For a range of reasons, they have chosen not to learn new things. It seems that some people are too proud, fearful, arrogant, busy, distracted, insecure or lazy to learn. What a pity, what a waste (of everything) and what an unnecessary reality to inhabit.
Opening Our Eyes
If we so choose, our world (the one we create and inhabit) can be different from now… or like too many others, we can keep living our life in a holding pattern. We can be problem-focused or lesson-focused; it’s a choice. It’s a mindset. Some choose to whine and bitch, others to learn. From right now we can open our eyes, shift our attitude, learn new things and produce better results, simply by looking at old things in new ways. Internal shift produces external shift. That is, transformation always works from the inside-out. If there’s a genuine desire to learn, the lessons will always be there. In fact, they are always there but we fail to pay attention. If only we would listen to what life (God, the universe, subconscious us) is saying. The wisdom is there. The truth is there. The joy is there. And the lessons are there for anyone who chooses to be a seeker and a student.
So what have you learned lately? Do tell! Feel free to teach the rest of us something by sharing any recent revelations, insights, life-lessons or moments of clarity. And as always, feel free to share your thoughts on this article.