I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where learning was valued. It was evident in the quality of the schools my parents selected for me, but it went further than that.
During school vacations, I was easily bored. After exhausting myself outside playing sports, I was always looking for something else to do. These days, most kids just jump on the internet (some can’t jump on, because they never jump off), but I grew up in pre-computer days.
Mom or Dad would meet my complaints of “I’m bored” with “Read a book”. Often, I’d take their advice, and I enjoyed the experience. Sometimes I didn’t even need prompting. As a kid, I read a lot – although, for some reason, I rarely chose fiction.
Years later, I worked for a man who had more college degrees than I could count. His motto was: “A day where one doesn’t learn something new is a day that has been wasted”. It was, and remains today, an excellent attitude to life.
Whatever your method(s) of learning might be, make sure that by the time you are ready to close your eyes at night, you have learned something new.
Learning something you didn’t know before sharpens the senses and expands perception.
A few weeks ago, I learned about a model of car that had been on the market for a while. No big deal, but as I left the office half an hour later, I saw that very model parked in the street. Quite possibly I’d walked past it many times, but it was the first time I’d ever noticed it.
Read a book, surf the net, flick through a newspaper, or take a course. It’s about broadening your outlook, and perceiving more.
William Blake knew all about that:
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
I heard a story about a 65-year-old woman who threw open the doors of her cavern. She was headed back to university to study law. One of her friends asked why she would do such a crazy thing. Her reply was “In four years, I can be 69, or in four years I can be a 69 year-old lawyer”.
It’s never too late, is it?
What do you think? Please leave your comments below.