Learning….It’s Meant to Be for a Lifetime

Ignorance is  voluntary Misfortune   Nicholas LangLearning is meant to be a life-long endeavor. I witnessed during my near-death experience, that learning is a desire that we inherently have. Even in heaven, it was our desire to learn and the increase in intelligence.

I believe that it doesn’t matter whether our learning is through formal schooling or from self-study – it is all valuable. In today’s “Information Age”, all of the information can be a little overwhelming. Yet, my experience has shown me that, with God’s guidance, we are guided to all that we need and all that we can be benefited by.

I hope that you will commit to being a life-long student! Please enjoy today’s story!:

How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner

For the first twenty-two years or so of our lives, our main “job” is learning. The bulk of our time is spent in classrooms acquiring new knowledge. And then, once we graduate, we feel like the education phase of our lives is done and now it’s time to go out into the world. Have you ever thought about how odd that idea is? That only a quarter of our lives should be devoted to learning, and then we should simply rest on our laurels for the remaining three-quarters of it?

It’s an erroneous idea – but one many have absorbed, at least subconsciously. But school need not be your exclusive provider of learning. Just because you’ve finished your formal education, doesn’t mean that your education is over!

Many, perhaps most, of history’s greatest men were autodidacts – those who devote themselves to self-education, either in addition to or as a substitute to formal schooling. A fantastic example of this is author Louis L’Amour. L’Amour was one of America’s most prolific and manliest fiction writers. During his career he cranked out over 120 dime Western novels as well as several collections of short stories and poems. What makes Louis L’Amour’s story all the more remarkable is that he was almost entirely self-taught.

Louis L'Amour sitting in chair drinking coffee cowboy hat

Lifelong learner Louis L’Amour

Due to family hardships, L’Amour dropped out of school when he was fifteen and spent the next eight years traveling around the American West working odd jobs on cattle ranches, farms, lumber mills, and even mines. To earn extra money L’Amour boxed in small prizefights around the country and earned a reputation as a formidable opponent. While in his twenties L’Amour became a merchant marine and traveled the globe via steamship.

During all this time, L’Amour was voraciously reading books. As soon as he set foot in a new town, he’d locate the local library. If libraries weren’t around, he’d skip meals so he’d have enough money to order books from catalogs. He was also working on his craft as a budding writer, scribbling notes in cheap notepads that he kept with him all the time.

All of his experiences while traveling, all the books he read, and all the notes he wrote laid the groundwork for his later successful career. But even after L’Amour became an established writer, his pursuit of learning continued and rewarded him greatly. He is a perfect example of the fascinating life one can create for himself when he makes the commitment to be a lifelong learner. (If you want to learn more about L’Amour’s lifelong self-education, pick up a copy of his autobiography, Education of a Wandering Man. Super inspiring read.)

 

Not only can becoming a lifelong learner help you earn more money in traditional employment, autodidacticism can be the gateway to self-employment and starting your own business. There are countless examples from history of famous folks who learned how to create thriving businesses without any formal education: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford to name just a few. Countless not-so-famous business owners became successful without ever earning a sheepskin too, simply by teaching themselves what they needed to know and relentlessly tinkering.

You’ll be more interesting and charismatic. Those who met Theodore Roosevelt were always greatly impressed with his ability to hold a conversation with anyone regarding any subject imaginable. Scientists were blown away with Roosevelt’s knowledge of complex theories, socialites were smitten with his witty insights about the latest piece by Oscar Wilde, and cowboys out West respected the “Eastern Dude’s” understanding of desert wildlife. How did Theodore Roosevelt become such a charismatic, conversational dynamo? By developing the ability to speed read and then devouring books like a hungry lion feasting on a fresh kill. While in the White House, he would read a book every day before breakfast. If he didn’t have any official business in the evening, he would read two or three more books, plus any magazines and newspapers that caught his fancy. By his own estimates, TR read tens of thousands of books during his lifetime, including hundreds in foreign languages. As a result, he could connect with anyone, from any walk of life, on something that truly interested the other person.

You’ll be a better leader. Being able to connect with others doesn’t just make you more interesting. It also makes you much more influential. The greater your knowledge base, the more you can meet people where they are, and the greater the stockpile of solutions you have at your disposal to tackle problems and overcome challenges.

You’ll be independent and handy. One thing I admired about my grandpa growing up was all the cool stuff that he knew. He was always tinkering, and it seemed like he knew everything about everything. How to hunt, how to shoe a horse, how to garden (he grew grapes), how to make awesome pancakes. Even after he retired, my grandpa was always learning new things and acquiring new skill sets. For example, he learned how to restore antique horse carriages and old phonograph players. He got so good at it, in fact, that he started restoring antique phonograph players as a small side-business.

Because of my grandpa’s diverse range of skills, when something broke or he needed something done, he could do it himself. He didn’t have to call and pay an expert to do it for him. If he didn’t know how to do it, he went to the library, got some books on the subject, and figured it out.

Lifelong learning keeps your brain healthy. Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Nearly 100 years later science is validating Henry Ford’s quip. Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging says, “Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life.” Her research has shown that the more education an elderly person has – whether obtained formally or informally — the better they performed on cognitive tests than other elderly folks who had less education.

Learning new things can also help stave off old-age ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study has shown that older folks who stay cognitively active and curious about the world around them are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s than those who let their minds lie fallow.

You’ll feel more satisfied with life. In his book Drive, author Dan Pink argues that we need three things to feel motivated about, and satisfied with, our life: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Becoming a lifelong learner fulfills all three of these psychological needs.

When you’re an autodidact you – not your parents, not your professor, not your boss — get to decide what you’re going to learn about. Instead of being a passive consumer of knowledge, you’re actively choosing what you’re learning. In other words, you’re autonomous. As you learn new skills, you’ll enjoy the positive feeling that comes with mastery. And you’ll find yourself with a renewed sense of purpose in life as you set goals for your self-education.

The satisfaction that comes with lifelong learning doesn’t stop there. The more you know about the world, the deeper you can plunge into it, and the more levels of it you can experience. Whether you’re traveling, having a conversation, visiting a museum, watching a movie, or reading a book, your library of knowledge helps you make connections that you would never have otherwise perceived. The more you learn, the more you realize how many references and meanings you’ve missed because the author/speaker simply took that background knowledge, that fluency in cultural literacy, for granted.

Inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/18/how-and-why-to-become-a-lifelong-learner/

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One of the Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Child…

One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is to help them find their talents. Sean CoveryI love children! I love their freshness and their unencumbered awe of the world!

It always makes me sad when I see a child question their worth and begin to doubt that they have any worthwhile abilities. (Truthfully, it makes me sad to see adults question their worth and abilities as well.)

I believe we all have a special obligation to help children believe in themselves and to help them develop their talents and gifts.

Imagine a world in which children and adults alike knew their worth and celebrated their god-given talents and gifts!

I think today’s story would be great to share with children! It does a wonderful job of helping children understand that, oftentimes, developing strengths and talents does not come without some adversity and difficulties.

I hope you will enjoy it and share it if you get a chance!

The Seeds

Once upon a time there were four seeds who were good friends of each other. Taken up by the wind they finally landed in a jungle clearing. There they remained, hidden on the ground, hoping they would be able to grow up and become beautiful trees.

But when the first seed began germinating, they realized it wouldn’t be such an easy task. In that clearing there lived a group of monkeys, and the smallest monkeys would amuse themselves by throwing bananas at any plant they noticed was starting to grow. Using this game, the monkeys learned how to throw bananas and they also kept the clearing free of vegetation.

They threw so many bananas at that first seed that it was almost split in two. And when it told the other seeds what happened, they all agreed it would be better to wait for that group of monkeys to move on, before they attempted to grow.

Well, they all thought that, apart from one, who thought she should at least attempt it. And when she tried she was pelted with bananas, and was left folded over in two. The other seeds got together and asked her to stop trying, but that little seed was completely determined to become a tree, and time and again she would try and try. On each new occasion the little monkeys had slightly improved their aim, and so the little seed ended up doubled over yet again.

But the seed didn’t give up. Every time they pelted her with bananas, she tried even harder, despite her friends begging her to stop, and telling her to wait until the monkeys left. And so, for days, weeks and months the little plant was attacked by the monkeys, and she always ended stooped and doubled over. For a few days she would manage to avoid the bananas, but then the next day some monkey would hit her, and it would all start over again.

And then, one day, she didn’t double over. She was hit by a banana, and then another, but none of them managed to make her stoop. She had taken so many blows, and been doubled over so many times, that she was full of hard knots and scars that helped her to grow more strongly than the other seeds. So, her slim trunk got thicker and more resistant, until it could withstand the impact of a banana. And she was already so well developed that nor could the little monkeys uproot her from the ground. And there she stayed, growing, growing and growing.

Thanks to the extraordinary strength of her trunk she could continue overcoming all difficulties, until she became the most majestic tree in the jungle. Meanwhile her friends remained hidden in the ground, and they continued as ever, hoping that those horrible monkeys would abandon the clearing, never realizing that those very same monkeys were the only ones capable of strengthening the seeds’ trunks by their method of throwing bananas, something that would prepare the seeds for all the problems they would confront during their growth.

Story written by: Pedro Pablo Sacristan

Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/seeds

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Education…Learning Can Transform our Lives

Education.  "The what informs, but the why transforms".  Dieter F. UchtdorfEducation is not about going to a certain building and learning “certain things”. Education is about learning – growing in knowledge, wisdom and intelligence.

I am an autodidact and I believe in autodidactiscism – Self-directed learning. I love learning!

After my near-death experience, I realized, more than ever, the importance of always learning and growing!

I also believe in the power of teachers.

What I do not believe is that four walls labeled a classroom are necessary to create a learning environment.

However, if you look at history, autodidacts have been very important to the world in which we live. Here is a short list of autodidacts:

  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Walt Disney
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Bill Gates
  • Michael Faraday
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Henry Ford

I love that we can teach each other and that life is meant to be a life-long learning experience! What do you love? Do you study it? Do you find books and other learning materials and treat yourself to frequent learning sessions?

Think of the difference that spending just 10 minutes a day learning about something you love would do! What could you learn in a year? 5 years? a lifetime?

Then, think of what you could do with that knowledge and the many creative ways you could share what you have learned with others!

We are all students and we are all teachers! (We never know the full extent of the influence we have on others – good or bad)

In that light, I share a story about the positive influence a teacher had with young man. I hope you enjoy!:

To Walker, With Love

Four months ago, I was contacted by American Greetings for a video series on gratitude. Not fully knowing what I was getting into, I was charged to take pause and think the people who had shaped my life. These are the people who I would put on my #ThankList. A #ThankList is a list of people you want to express gratitude toward for helping to shape your life, and it’s a step toward a world that’s just a little bit nicer. Had it not been for this project, I may have never had this opportunity. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I am grateful to share my #ThankList story.

I always knew that I wanted to be some kind of entertainer. Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City (Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn a.k.a. Bed-Stuy), my life was not always easy. My mother raised us in a city-owned apartment while on welfare, and my father suffered from drug issues. However, there was love in the home. Quite often, my mother would have movie nights with us. They dealt with themes of the dangers of drugs and what happens to people who make wrong choices. I was mesmerized by seeing the many black faces on the screen.

One night, my mom came home with the movie To Sir, With Love, starring a tall, black man named Sidney Poitier. In this movie, Mr. Poitier played a handsome, well-dressed and educated but stern teacher. As I watched, not only did I notice another inspiring black talent, but I was reminded of someone who I had grown to admire — Mr. John Walker.

Mr. Walker was my fifth grade teacher. He was cool, sharply dressed, slick and stern. He loved his students and we loved him. I remember getting my report card on the last day of fourth grade and seeing the words “New Teacher: Mr. Walker.” I was excited because I’d NEVER had a male teacher before.

From the first day of fifth grade (September 1984), Mr. Walker laid down the class rules. I remember sitting nervously and thinking, How do I get out of his class? I had no idea this class would be one of the most impactful times of my life.

My biological father was in my life and I loved him, but he had drug issues. Mr. Walker became my father away from home. The father who, when you weren’t in his presence, you still wanted to make proud. He always brought positivity to our lives. He would give us weekly speeches telling us that we don’t have to be products of our environments — on welfare, using drugs or spending a life in prison. Mr. Walker always told us we could do anything and be anyone we wanted.

The first time I ever left New York City was for a school trip that Mr. Walker arranged for us at a farm. This was an overnight trip. We prepared for months by hosting bake sales to raise funds. I remember Mr. Walker working so hard. He wanted us to experience life outside of Bed-Stuy. It was a trip I’ll never forget.

Another day, Mr. Walker said we could put on a play in class. I remember him saying, “Waliek, this is your chance to show us what you got, so if you want the lead part, you better go home and learn it by tomorrow.” I ran home and memorized the whole play in one night. I think I did this more for Mr. Walker because he believed in me and gave me that opportunity. One day, the school had a special assembly program and we noticed that Mr. Walker brought a special briefcase with him. As the program began, the host called on him. Our class became fidgety with excitement and curiosity. He opened his special briefcase and pulled out a gold trumpet. Before he started, he dedicated his performance to all the students, but especially our class. It was the most beautiful music I’d ever heard. I was so shocked and amazed. My teacher was not only one of the coolest, best dressed, educated men, but he was also an entertainer — just like me. I have never in my life been more grateful to be in the presence of Mr. John Walker. I hope that we all encounter a Mr. Walker along the way.

When I created my #ThankList, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Mr. Walker topped my list. Although he didn’t know at the time, Mr. Walker changed the course of my life. Without this opportunity from American Greetings, I would have never had the opportunity to share this story. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/waliek-crandall/to-walker-with-love_b_7191256.html

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Believe in Yourself and Believe You Can!

Do you believe in Yourself? More importantly, do you believe that God is your most important ally and resource? Do you believe in God’s love for you and His desire to help you manifest the life you were born to live?

I have found that many bristle at the idea of believing in themselves. They often think that believing in themselves equates to egotism or narcissism. The reality is that God wants us to love ourselves and to believe in our capacity. It is when we believe that we are the only ones who have worth or capacity that we get into trouble with our self-value.

If you could return to heaven for just 5 minutes and resume the understanding we all had there, you would see that you are an amazing being with great capacity and worth! I know, because that is what happened to me during my near-death experience. I believe, in our hearts, we all sense our worth but it seems to me that the influences of the world quickly strip many of us of the ability to internalize our inherent value.

You were born to fill a special divine place in this world! Are you actively pursuing the life you were born to live? I hope you are and I hope that you enjoy today’s story!:

The Story of Colonel (Harland) Sanders

Colonel Harland Sanders was fired from a variety of jobs throughout his career before he first started cooking chicken in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930, when he was 40 years old, during the Great Depression. His gas station didn’t actually have a restaurant, so he served diners in his attached personal living quarters.

Over the next 10 years, he perfected his “Secret Recipe” and pressure fryer cooking method for his famous fried chicken and moved onto bigger locations. His chicken was even praised in the media by food critic Duncan Hines (yes, that Duncan Hines). However, as the interstate came through the Kentucky town where the Colonel’s restaurant was located in the 1950s, it took away important road traffic, and the Colonel was forced to close his business and retire, essentially broke. Worried about how he was going to survive off his meager $105 monthly pension check, he set out to find restaurants who would franchise his secret recipe—he wanted a nickel for each piece of chicken sold. He drove around, sleeping in his car, and was rejected more than 1,000 times before finally finding his first partner.

Story shared from the following website: https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-famous-people-who-will-inspire-you-to-never-give-up#!

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Adversity…Nothing in the World is Worth Having Unless it Means Effort

Adversity – we all have it and we all deal with it differently. When you look at nature, you can see all kinds of examples of animals and creatures that deal daily with adversity. Yet, the Lord loves and watches over every creation.

During my near death experience, I witnessed many of us being educated about the adversity we would experience in this experience we call life. The Lord went to great effort to teach and train us and to prepare us for the experiences we would have on earth. You may be surprised to learn that earth was never meant to be 100% vacation time!

Have you ever noticed how much you cherish the lessons learned from adversity? There is a reason for that! Our spirits inherently value growth. We all are meant to experience adversity but none of us are meant to handle all that life presents to us alone. I hope you will remember that God is always aware of you and willing to reach out to you as you are willing to reach out to Him.

May you enjoy today’s story of adversity!:

Get Up

Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.

In his book, “A View from the Zoo”, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first lesson.

The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.

When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.

Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.

The late Irving Stone understood this. He spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin.

Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of all these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished and they go to work.

“They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.”

– Craig B. Larson

Shared from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-2.html

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