Why Life Is The Greatest School
And What Do We Need To Do For Living To The Fullest
Life is the biggest teacher.
We all have the opportunity to learn throughout our life that no class room can possibly teach us. But while we focus on what exactly we have learned in a class room and how well we did on the tests, we often overlook the lessons we have learned in our life often through falling and getting back up.
I have read a recent blog post by Kimberly Manning and commented —
‘We, in our lives, go to various schools, the more traditional ones and also the unconventional ones and we need to learn from them all.’
* (The original comment has been edited here to make it suitable for this post)
It might be the experience we had traveling to some place. It might be a night in the church, singing with a group of people, that turned out to be spiritually enriching. Or it could be anything.
The people we meet, and the situations we find ourselves in, offer us a great deal of life’s Case Studies. The exceptional courage we show in overcoming the hurdles often surprises us. We keep on learning. At various stages, in various schools, in life. But learning and living under controlled environment is like applying peanut butter on a bread toast. But what real life offers is not something so simple. It is more like making a Big Mac in a moving train.
Education — The Foundation For Learning
For this very reason, many countries are looking to make changes in their education systems, where children would be more encouraged to explore life than sit in a closed safe environment and read from text books that have been written years ago.
A child is clearly bound to learn about different kinds of people out there and how to deal with them by running an actual lemonade stand than reading a Moral Sciences text book.
I am in no way condemning schools or teachers — they are doing a great job of crafting the next-generations. I am also not saying that the traditional studies we have today are useless. They are like the foundation of the building upon which we can build brilliantly designed structure. Without this education, our mind would never fully open and we would be incapable of learning from life. But the focus and the way lessons are taught should change. This has been a problem since ages across the world. Even with these notable schools that everyone aspire to get into, the focus is still precisely on that — getting into them and succeeding in getting high scores in tests.
Instead, the real focus should be on innovation, creativity and understanding the meaning of life. The real problems we face in the world revolve around real people, their emotions and their values. Every human being has his or her own beliefs and when they contradict with others’ beliefs, it causes friction. I do not know a text book which teaches us how to solve such problems efficiently, do you? This is something that can only be learned through experience.
Aversion And Escapism — The Real Villains Within
Another trend I increasingly notice these days is that many tend to avoid arduous — especially mentally stressful — tasks. This evasive nature might offer short-term peace but the issue would eventually turn up. Instead, by facing such situations with vigour and courage, not only would we solve the problem but would also learn great lessons in life.
It is common and understandable to have fear: what if we do not overcome the problem? First of all, no problem is impossible to solve and even if we assume one is, we would still emerge triumphed equipped with experiences and lessons that we can apply next time we face similar problem.
Depression, fear of failure and the lack of variety in life are only some of the problems one faces in life. If one refuses to see them in the eye and learn from them, this would encourage reclusive lifestyle often accompanied with a feeling of worthlessness. This is when friends and family become important.
C.S. Lewis said Friendship — and I would add Family here — is one of those things which give value to survival.
Not only do we find ourselves in the state of despair, but quite often, we would find ourselves a friend of someone who is in such a state. The choices we make define who we are. But they also define how others around us will be. As much as we would want someone to be with us, it is our responsibility to be there for that friend too. We need to help him or her come out of that state and again see life as the beautiful garden it is — happy and colourful.
While the friend would learn a valuable lesson — the Importance of Life — we too would learn one — the Meaning of Life.
Traveling — Many Experiences Bundled Together
I have traveled a lot across Europe in a short span. I have met some wonderful people, visited amazing places and experienced magnificent cultures. They all are a part of me now.
When we travel, we need to have a lot of fun. Sure. But we can also turn every tour into a knowledge source — a set of experiences that enrich us, our memories and our soul. We need to understand why a particular culture is the way it is and what historic events have moulded it. We need to seek the knowledge that every person, every building and every ruin has to offer.
If there is one important thing that travelling gives us, it is this.
In traveling, we learn more about our own self.
There are several ideas, thoughts and emotions that hide in the back of our mind. Each day, we come across many unique situations and face exciting challenges. At least some of them spark creative ideas or strong emotions in us which we immediately brush off because we are busy with our daily lives; other pressing matters take over easily.
But while traveling, we have the whole world to ourselves. We come across something, some location or someone who refreshes those ideas again. The hidden thoughts resurface but this time, we have time to ponder over them.
We need to overcome both physical and psychological hurdles we face and bring joy into our lives. All the lessons we have learned throughout our journey of life, until this point, are the real lessons we need to move on from this point in life. But when we ignore such situations and refuse to face them head-on, we risk stopping there.
Not all situations can be averted; not every challenge can be evaded through a short-cut. If we try to do so, even if we manage to do so, what is there in life without those experiences and lessons? What would you do if you face such situation down the road again?
Education, a bit of traveling and exploring the world around us and the dare to see challenges in their eye are what makes life exciting.
But they all need to be defined beyond their current definition.
About Sriteja Reddy
Sriteja Reddy is the Business Partner, South India, of Blue Digital Media, a leading Digital Branding Solutions company in India. He is also the author of The Silent Sound. He often writes on Management & Marketing related stuff on LinkedIn. But he also pens down his thoughts on life, values and philosophy here on Medium.
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