Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Serious Student

Amazing study by architect Gianni Botsford designed for his father.

I want to always become a better student. To be able to listen to an idea, take what is needed for growth and share that concept with another, I think, is what it means to be a student. St. Thomas Aquinas says that if you are unable to listen to an argument, or a point someone is making, and if you cannot explain back to them in two sentences then you do not understand the point they were making. Three quotes pop in my head about being a student:

Sometimes the best answer to give is, "I don't know. Let's find out together."

An intelligent man learns from his mistakes and a wise person learns from the mistakes of others.

There is no teaching. There is only learning. 

These quotes have greatly impacted my life and in many ways. 

Pride prevents learning.

I have come across many stubborn people in my life. People who are wrong in word or action and will fight to the death to not admit it. I believe this is one of the worst things a person can do. The second worst thing they could do is not be able to accept a gift. There is such a deep pride with these characteristics that it almost makes growth impossible. They fight against change and do not contribute in any meaningful way. Another way to say it is that they never learn. We know people who we look at and say, "they never learn, do they?" There is something very freeing when one can admit they are wrong.

Admit when you are wrong.

When you are able to let your guard down around other people, show your vulnerability AND be okay with that, it is like something "magical" happens. I don't know how to describe it. It is like the other person is actually breathing for the first time since meeting you. I can see it in their eyes, it is this moment where their eyes relax as if saying, "You mean I don't have to play this game with you!" It is such a beautiful moment and I realize that not everyone might not know what I am talking about but that is okay. 

So what is the connection between vulnerability and being a student? I really think you cannot have one without the other. To be a great student you have to admit you do not know something. Since honesty and vulnerability are very closely linked, a great student must admit they do not know something and must learn from a master, from someone who knows more. The unsaid hope of every student is, please do not reject me or mock me for admitting to you that I need help. How many people deal with emotional scars because someone kicked them when the asked for help? Too many I think... 

The Three Hardest Things to say:

1) I love you.
2) I am sorry.
3) I need help.

To be a good student is to be honest, is to be open, is to be a verb and not a noun. Not someone who fills a desk but someone who constantly challenges themselves to become better. Always strive to become better because (wait for it) life is better on purpose!

In the part of the talk I was listening to today Jim Rohn said, "Do not be a follower, be a student." He mentioned learning from these books to become better:

1) Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
2) The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
3) How to Read a Book by Mortimer J Adler
4) The Lessons of History by Will Durant
5) The Bible by God

I hope we are able to become more honest and more vulnerable with each other. Acknowledging and Accepting our vulnerability is one of the greatest signs of personal development.

Day 7 Down! Just finished a week!

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