Still learning

In many places around the northern hemisphere this week is the opening of the school year. It is a good opportunity to share with you a short extract from the book “The Resiliency advantage” by Dr. Al Siebert that I received from my daughter Batel. The extract  talks about our ability to always learn, no matter how old we are.
And this is what he writes:

A marvelous blessing you carry inside you as a human being is that you can continue to learn how to cope, adapt, resile and thrive in new circumstances your entire life.  The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow said that no one achieves full self-actualization until at least the age of sixty. (I’m, by the way, over 60, so I’m glad to discover that I’m fully ‘actualized’).

A great benefit from being a human being is that we can replace old behaviors with new behaviors, at any age. (Yet, we all certainly believe that as we grow older it is more difficult or even impossible).

It’s useful to understand that you were born with the ability to learn in three different ways:

The first kind of learning is emphasized when students attend classes in school. What they learn is scheduled and controlled by teachers, and teachers are evaluated on how well their students do on various tests.

A second kind of learning occurs from imitating effective people. From role models we acquire the action patterns of others.

The third way is self-motivated, self-managed learning. It is the learning that comes directly from your own experience. Life is a learning environment for people who learn on their own. In the school of life, a skilled student can learn useful lessons from rough experiences.

Here’s another way to look at the differences in how people learn: When you take classes in a school, first you learn the lesson and then you take a test. In the school of life, first you take the test and then you learn a lesson. (Read this sentence again, it is an interesting perspective).

Highly resilient people learn in all three ways. They learn in classes, learn from role models, and learn useful lessons on their own and by doing so they make themselves more valuable.

So talking about learning useful lessons on our own brings us to learning from failures. Experiences that feel like failure can break you down or be converted into growth experience. You can interpret failure as a negative judgment about you and your incompetence or you view a failure as feedback about the ineffectiveness of your current actions and as useful information about where to focus to become more effective.

(“The resiliency advantage” by Al Siebert, PhD – Copyright 2005 all rights reserved)

And back to learning. A small metal plate stands on my desk that says “Ancora Imparo” (I am still learning). This is a quote from Michelangelo, the great Italian renaissance artist, when he was 87 (!!) years old.

Mahatma Gandhi once said – “Live like there is no tomorrow, learn like you’ll live forever.”

Keep on learning…..

Fireworks (12)
Shuka, Thursday, September 4, 2008

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