I am a firm believer in the fundamental truth that no matter where you are in life you should never stop learning. Because once you stop learning you stop growing and well, then you might as well be non-existent.
We live in a world where things are ever changing. Technology has surpassed so many of our initial capacities that now almost nothing seems impossible by way of development and implementation. I had the opportunity to attend a brilliant summit this weekend that provided space for like-minded women to come together, share, learn and grow. At one point one of the moderators announced it was possible that in addition to being presented with new information we might also hear things we’ve heard before and already know and instead of tuning out during those times, as we most often do, she encouraged that specifically in those moments we remain present and as open as possible just as if we were learning something new. This ask was probably one of the most powerful points of the day for me.
How many times in a day do you come across information that you believe you already know, and have a good enough handle on that you don’t need to hear or possibly re-learn it again. If we’re keeping things honest, as we always do, it happens to me all the time. Someone starts to say something, I’ll overhear something in the media, read an article, etc. … and immediately in my mind I recognize that I already know it and because of that recognition more often than not my mind starts to wander. Thinking about how I am going to respond, other things I may have on my plate for the day, etc… I become distracted and less engaged. Is this a natural reflex? I have no idea, but what I do know is that experience has taught me it’s not necessarily the best practice if we are looking to live a life of growth and abundance.
Let’s first discuss what happens during these times of distraction and disengagement. I am not claiming to be a expert on the matter and this conclusion is merely based on my own observations and experiences but I think there might be a few points we can all relate to as common ground. To disengage means to separate or release (someone or something) from something to which they are attached or connected. So when we tune out we ultimately release ourselves not only of our intention for engagement in the first place but, the opportunity to take in something new that we may have missed the first time around or that can be added to the way we see an idea, thought, moment, etc. Think about what your life would be like without 2nd chances, the opportunity to grow from your mistakes, to switch things up and do something differently. When you disengage or become distracted simply because you’ve heard it before or have already developed your opinion you remove any opportunity to do better by something.
Conversely, when you keep an open mind you are more likely to move forward, evolve and grow. Through the key of remaining open you invite fresh energy and light into your space. For example, it could be said that you are an expert at fundraising, setting boundaries within your relationships, building bridges within the community, increasing business sales… but by listening to others stories and experiences it helps to reinforce the good of what you know, bring recognition to the bad, and learn how to consistently move through life building strategies that work so you can do even better.
Growing up, there were certain phrases, mottos, affirmations, life lessons, I must have heard my parents say time and time again. I used to think, Ugh!!!! I got it! No need to keep saying these same things over and over. Just like every pre-teen, teenager, and young adult I was secretly (or not) annoyed because of course I thought I knew everything. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned it was the reinforcement of those lessons that ultimately shaped the person who I am today. Thinking back on it, because the world is such a dynamic place, even though the words that are being spoken or heard are the same the circumstances in which you hear the information will be different every time and therefore the lesson enhanced. Your life experiences work to provide deeper understanding and meaning of so many things.
So what does all if this have to do with you and where you are today? Everything!
It’s imperative to remember that there is always the opportunity to learn if we want to move forward in life. The key is taking advantage of the opportunity and keeping an open mind.
Therefore, I challenge you this week to focus on remaining present and engaged with all you do. Tapping into those moments when you notice your focus begin to shift and your awareness becomes distracted. When you want to shut down or tune out dig deep into your consciousness and invite new lessons from previously learned information to take formation. Make the effort to really listen and hear the information that comes through. Take note of what resonates with you based on your current position and jot the ideas down in your journal. What is different from the opinion/ idea you previously held? What did you miss, if anything, the first time around? Is your understanding of the issue greater? Are you able to find areas to expand on what you already know? Truly challenge yourself here to do better.
If you push to broaden your boundaries about the things you already know imagine the foundation and possibilities you will set for all things new.
“Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.” – Albert Einstein