Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
More and more often, I am excited about what’s to be learned today. I realised that embarking on a journey of lifelong learning is the surest way to engage in a process of ever continuous improvement. In a LEARNING STATE (learning as a frame of mind), outcomes aren’t always clear, but a sense of amazement and restless curiosity ensures a peaceful satisfaction. I must confess, learning has become a for of ‘religion’ and an obsession to me. I believe in learning more than I believe in education, even though they intertwine. Learning seems to carry a more practical approach, one which is guided by real life experiences. Education still seems very subjective to me.
My quest has been to show that the quality of our existence depends upon learning. By learning I mean, not the rote memorization of facts, but sincere efforts aimed at better understanding the very nature of knowledge and the tenuous, cultural construction of the things called reality.” Charles D. Hayes
I put myself in situations with learning in mind and I don’t always get an economic benefit or any form of material gratification from those experiences. So, sometimes, I wonder if I should have been more RESULTS oriented rather than process oriented, but I soon realise the process of living life is more rewarding than the outcome itself (what is the outcome of living anyway, if not purely living?).
The value of life does not lie in the number of years but in the use you make of them.” Montaigne
I’ve learned all I want is to revive, maintain, nurture the natural instinct humans are born with – the desire to explore, to learn and evolve. I want to continue my journey to be a FULL TIME LEARNER of the wonders of the universe. I want to be a Master in the Art of Continuous Learning.
Our brains have built-in pleasure centers, and these are activated by three primary stimuli: food, sex and learning. Those in the developed world have enough riches to experience food and sex as aesthetic gratification. But too many underrate our most powerful pleasure: learning.” Charles D. Hayes
I believe the value of focusing on constant learning is to make better use of the years we live, not merely on the number of awards and achievements we collect. Those are justifiable if simple forms of gratification in the pursuit of excellence, only then. Lifelong learning is the recognition that humans are not afraid of changes, they are a result of an ever changing environment. Change isn’t an exception, it is a rule. Lifelong learning helps you embrace the process of change, so it become institutionalized.
The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” William James
Here is a short story from an unknown story-teller (probably a Zen Master) to inspire self-reflection (ignore the grammar errors please, I am tired and want to go bed : ) ):
A student went to see the master and he said:
“Master I want to learn, I want you to teach me everything you know, I am a good student, I want to learn.”
The master responded:
“Sure, but there are a couple of things that you are going to have to do first”.
The student said:
“Anything, whatever you want, I’ll do.”
“Fine, the first thing you’re going to have to do it to listen.”
So the student said:
“sure, listening is a cinch, no problems at all.”
The Master then said:
“the next thing apart from listening, you are going to have to show willingness to do the things you actually heard”.
Then the student said:
“sure, no problems at all!”
Ok, so the Master replied:
“I need a bit of proof, come with me.”
They went walking down the river, and the Master took the student all the way into the river, with the water now running up to his neck, then the Master went “whoosh” and pushed the student’s head under the water – held him there for a little while. Now I guess the student must have thought, this is a little joke here, I mean this guy is going to let me go in a minute. Anyway, a few seconds late the student tried to get up and the master kept him down, another 10 seconds and the Master kept him down, the student propelled himself out of the water, and “hhuurr” took a deep breath, and turned to the Master and asked:
“Master, why did you do this, I’ve come to you to learn, why did you do this to me?”
And the Master said:
“Son, if you’re willing to learn as much as you were willing to breathe just then, you’re ready to start.”
I am not there yet, but I will soon. One day, I will be willing to learn as much as I am willing to breathe. Learn as long as life is long.
Live as a full time learner.
Enjoy your journey!
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