The Best Way to Learn?
The older we get, the more time we spend defending what we do know rather than learning what we don’t know. Yet the younger we are, the more we think we know having not lived long enough to know how much we don’t know yet. This is definitive proof that we need one another. The not-so-young need the fresh enthusiasm and idealism of the not-yet-old; who in turn desperately need the wisdom and experience of those who have gone before them. So, what’s the best way to learn?
Contrary to public opinion the best way to learn is not through personal experience. To learn everything through experience would require five lifetimes. The best way to learn is through someone else’s experience; that is, drawing on the counsel of mature others. Of course, we’ll fill up on our fair share of personal experience this way too as the wise urge us further, higher, deeper. There’s just a bunch of lessons we don’t need to rehash … especially those that are the product of ignorance, selfishness and stubbornness.
“Experience teaches only the teachable” observed Aldous Huxley. And herein lies the pinch. Am I willing to listen? Am I open to seeing things from a fresh perspective? Am I really teachable? And just as importantly, have I invited people into my life who love me enough to tell me the truth … even when the truth is a little hard to swallow? The wisdom writer explained, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). While correction is always hard to swallow, a desire to grow and a love for truth will nurture a humility of heart that makes it more palatable.
To be unteachable is summed up in the delinquent student, who when asked why he failed, snapped: “Because my teacher’s stupid!”
There truly are none so limited as those who refuse to learn.