“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” — Chinese Proverb
There are so many quotations about learning and education I could write hundreds of interesting, relative, and profound articles using those quotations to support my views on learning. Many of the more humourous and provocative stories of life surround the narratives of our school days. So many of the events that shape our lives are given to us early in life and often who we become is a result of our formal educations.
For instance, I can use this rich quotation from Jim Rohn about formal vs informal education:
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” — Jim Rohn
While Jim was an icon in the motivational and self-development industries, education is only one of many environments where learning exists. Learning can take place in the home, at school, at work, or in social environments, or even in a place of solitude. If we are open and aware, learning can happen in almost every environment in which we find ourselves. The subject matter is relevant to the learner’s desire, gifts, and circumstance and is most often chosen by him or her.
There is another element to learning which I would like to focus on in this piece and this element almost certainly determines the quality of future education, learning, and achievement in life, as well as the fulfillment and quality of daily living. In the early years, it is not always our choice. That element or trait is what I am terming here as …”enough-ness.”
In my experience, this feeling of “enough-ness” manifests in a number of ways and I believe it is a conditioned or learned experience. Depending on the quality or state of feeling or being enough our present and future lives can be enhanced or diminished. In my opinion, once recognized in ourselves, this state of thinking, feeling, and being shapes our very destiny. If we feel we are enough, if we are satisfied with our persona, we enjoy success and joyful living. When I/we feel we are not enough, the road to fulfillment and happiness can be a long, dark path to travel.
I am not a health professional and I acknowledge there is much to know of the make-up of the human psyche. Yet, in my experience and observation of people in my life and the research which I have done over the years to develop my Life Architecture practice, I have seen and heard the effects of those who do and do not believe in their enough-ness.
“Maybe my best isn’t as good as someone else’s, but for a lot of people, my best is enough. Most importantly, for me it’s enough.”
― Lindsey Stirling
Most of us who lack the feeling of being enough can get that feeling by comparing ourselves to others. He’s bigger, stronger, smarter, richer better looking, etc., etc. I’m only speaking of men here because that is my personal experience though I’m sure our feminine counterparts have similar feelings. We often do this because of the culture of competition in our world today and the cultural ideology that more is better. You may agree to disagree with me here and that’s okay. But this quote by Iyanla Vanzant leads to my point:
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” — Iyanla Vanzant
And in my view when we attack ourselves with the spirit of not being as good as those we compare ourselves to, we negatively impact our enough-ness, the idea that I am enough…just as I am.
The work necessary to get beyond this feeling of “not enough” comes as a result of dynamic self-examination over an extended period of time. Since many of the aspects of not being enough were planted in us during our formative years and practiced over the number of years we’ve been alive, the effort to reverse this habit can be difficult at best and exhaustive in some scenarios.
So, in my model of Life Architecture, there are a few points that bear noting.
- The earlier the detection of not being enough, the more time one has to work on a solution stemming from new possibilities. (In other words, an ounce of prevention actually is worth more than a pound of cure.)
- Be compassionate and believe in yourself. This is not a fix for something in you that is wrong because I judge that we all have done the best we can with what we have been given. This is about acknowledging that we are good enough just the way we are and that when we discover there is some thought, behavior, or action that is necessary to change, that we already have all we need to affect that change.
- When it’s time for a change in our lives, we do not have to navigate that change by ourselves. In fact, I have found that the most profound and long-lasting changes I have made have been the result of collaborating with others in my sphere of influence. These are the people who know me the best. They are people I trust, not only for my well being but also for the well being of the community in which I live and play. My gain is their gain, and we all know it!
“There are no mistakes in life,only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of selfmastery. From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher” ― Robin Sharma
An ordinary person can take an experience, attach negative thoughts to it and stay in the emotional state of failure. But it is the extraordinary person who knows intrinsically, that they are worthy of all experience, who then find ways to unveil the narratives that lift them up from the ashes of otherwise difficult circumstances, that have the best odds of succeeding. These extraordinary beings know to remain curious, to ask for help when there is something they do not understand. They are also aware enough to know that how they face their present circumstances is a key to lifelong learning and the state of collaborative learning. This is the state of being enough!
While my view is that we begin to develop our feelings of self-worth (what I have termed here as enough-ness) early on in life (‘ Give me a child till he is seven years old,’ said St Ignatius Loyola, ‘ and I will show you the man.’) I also believe in the power of choice. So, when I reach an age of awareness and I begin to recognize that there is more to life than this vehicle of flesh can provide or maintain, I look to dialogue, to listen into the things I do not know, hearing the stories of other travelers and to collaborate with them to reveal the real power of being alive. This is my lesson of enough-ness.
One more notable traveler to quote that leaves me with the idea that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I refer here to a childhood hero…Popeye the Sailor Man when he said, “ I am what I am and that’s all that I am, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.” Apparently, he knew he was enough…just like he was.
Blessings to all of you and when you go to bed this evening, and you wake up in the morning, may you always and in all ways…know you are enough…just the way you are.