I guess thus far into this paltry existence of mine, if there is one nugget of wisdom I would want to impart to anyone going through any phase of life, it would be this: develop the joy of learning.
Life is always going to be full of ups and downs, highs and lows, full of surprises and changes. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are born, we will all experience this crazy thing called life. And there are times where there will be challenges, whether big or small; in these times we have to adapt and overcome or fail and hopefully learn from it.
And I’ve realised that life is all about learning and being open to new things and experiences. If you’re not open to learning, then you’re not open to life.
If you don’t learn, then you’re stagnant – you don’t improve, you don’t learn from your mistakes, you don’t grow and develop, you don’t expand your horizons.
If your entire world remains in a static field of suspended status quo, then I suppose you could be forgiven for not needing or attempting to learn and advance yourself or the knowledge pool of the world.
I imagine there are people who go through life growing physically, but not mentally or emotionally. People who pander to their base instincts their whole life without learning a single thing, leaving the world almost the same as they left it, zero contribution with a little waste. Seems like a big waste. But hey, as long as they were happy, right?
How does happiness weigh into the equation?
Are people who enjoy learning happy? Are happy people constantly learning? It’s not something easy to put into a statistic or graph.
Maybe not that hard, but it’s still a stretch to derive happiness purely from income level. You could say that those who are constantly learning or better at learning excel in academia and therefore excel at life (make more money), as the graph suggests, but I think that’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Firstly, let me put it out there that just because you enjoy learning doesn’t mean you’re good at it. And just because you’re good at learning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at applying whatever you’ve learned.
However, I would posit that those who enjoy learning or are good at learning tend to have a better outlook on life and a better chance at obtaining what it is they seek to achieve, simply because this attitude lends itself to curiosity and creativity, being open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
And if you’re not trying to achieve lofty goals, then at the very least you will have fun while you’re learning about this world and the things in this life. Why do I say that?
Because learning is the process of engaging and applying yourself to something. And if you develop a joy of learning, anything is possible!
You enjoy learning new languages so you can speak with your fellow human beings; you enjoy learning new recipes to spice up your meals; you enjoy learning new things about your friends and family so you get to know each other deeper and engage in more meaningful conversation (especially about the weather, oh boy!).
Learning can be as simple as picking up a new piece of trivia: did you know that Geoff the Robot on the Late Late show with Craig Ferguson was designed and built by Grant Imahara?
Think of it this way: learning is the avenue by which you perceive the world around you. You see with your eyes and hear with your ears, but you learn with all your senses. If you enjoy learning things, you will experience things in new and wonderful ways. Well, sometimes they may end up being dull or downright unpleasant, but at least now you know!
So yes, there is a risk to learning – you may uncover undesirable knowledge, knowledge that will haunt you until the day you die. But in the end, at least you can rest peacefully knowing that you knew the truth.
My point is, no matter your lot in life, where you’re at or what you do, learn to enjoy the learning process. Always be open to learning new things, and relish the journey of learning. Never be afraid to ask or to try something just because you think you’ll look stupid.
Life is too short for that.
Learn first, ask more questions later.