January 5

Today's quotation:

Learning is the beginning of wealth.  Learning is the beginning of health.  Learning is the beginning of spirituality.  Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.

Jim Rohn

Today's Meditation:

I definitely agree with Jim here, but I do have a problem with the concept of learning as we've come to know it.  I think that we put far too much emphasis on what we've learned and not enough thought into how we've learned it.  So much of what we learn comes from others, from the people with whom we associate, be they family, friends, co-workers or colleagues.  I've learned the hard way, though, that not everything that these people have "taught" me--through word and example--was actually worth learning.

I learned about limitation from my parents, for example.  I learned that the world is an unfair place and that you can never get ahead and that life is a constant struggle.  They taught me based on their histories and lessons, but what they taught me I found to be completely untrue.

I've learned some very important things from some very wonderful teachers, and I've learned a lot of garbage from people who were so focused on what they saw as "important lessons" in their own lives that they truly didn't know that what they were teaching me was simply wrong.  I've learned over the years, then, to immediately question what anyone is saying, and to look at their own lives to figure out whether what they're trying to teach me is actually right.  It's probably the most important thing that I've ever learned--discernment.  I don't want to learn about relationships from someone who has never had a positive relationship.  I don't want to learn about money from someone who is living paycheck to paycheck.  I don't want to learn about giving from a selfish person.  If anything, I can learn from them how not to do certain things.

We have to be careful about what lessons we take seriously and which ones we reject.  Sometimes we think someone makes sense simply because that person says something that agrees with our current perspective.  That doesn't mean that they're right, though--we probably like what they say because it validates what we're thinking.  But we really learn nothing from them--learning takes effort and it often goes against what we think we know, and an unwillingness to challenge our own thoughts will leave us stranded on islands of ignorance.  Know your teachers, and make sure that what they have to teach you is something definitely worth learning.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of lessons have you learned from people who weren't experts in their fields?

Why are we not taught to thoughtfully consider the sources of the stuff that we learn?

How can you make sure that what you learn in life is actually going to help you in positive ways?

For further thought:

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.

Mark Twain

more thoughts on learning


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