This thing we call the self, our individuality and self-fulfillment in general has been at the forefront of my mind for some time now. What and who are we? Are we how we define ourselves? Are we our actions? Our intentions? Are we who we say we are, or are we what others perceive? Does our choice in how we define ourselves in turn help define us? I don’t know, but one thing that seems closely linked to self-fulfillment is learning. There are a ton of motivational posters, books and speeches out there talking about the importance of it. Not just learning, but also re-learning and teaching. I agree, I find almost anything enjoyable and interesting as long as I’m learning and I never understand a subject as fully as when I’m teaching it to someone else.
Teachers of all kinds fascinate me. The involuntary ones, the deliberate ones, the educated ones. Everyone can be (and in my opinion, everyone is) a teacher of some sort, and finding which ones brings out the best student in you can be challenging. Some learn best when they’re held by the hand, some when they’re gently guided, some when they’re left to their own devices. I learn best when I’m pushed. Hard. The teachers and instructors that has brought out the best in me has been the ones that pushed me way beyond my comfort zone – sometimes with me kicking and screaming. Like my old soccer coach who took me to a steep hill and told me to run intervals until I couldn’t stand up. When I could no longer stand up, he told me to run a couple more. Or the yoga instructor, who spotted me getting out of a pose when there was no real need (besides me getting kinda tired) and asked “who do you want to be today; the person who stood up? Or the person who squatted a little lower?”. Lo and behold, I could squat a little bit lower.
That’s when I thrive; when I’m challenged. When someone believes I have the potential to live up to their demands – when they see more in me than I do – that’s when I break through and learn. And do a little bit better.
How do you learn?