Learning to Learn

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Library - Photo by Susan Yin
Photo by Susan Yin

Money is the most important thing in life. No, being successful is the most important thing in life. No wait, I think it’s family. Or was it the latest iPhone? It could be animals are the most important thing in life. Or if you’re me, it could be that food is life.

We are told constantly by everyone that there are all these things we should keep our eyes on as the final prize. That any or all of it is going to matter when you look back on life. Materials. That is all they are.

Objects of fascination designed to keep us from meandering into thought, to keep us from trying to figure out our next step as a species so that we can continue to consume via a currency with no weight in order to submit power to those who don’t even deserve it. Or maybe they do? What if greed is the evolution of survival of the fittest? Nope! Because that kind of imbalance is untenable and will never last!

But.

We forget how important it is to learn. We forget how important it is to learn how to learn. So that information taken is efficiently processed and stored so that it can help us move forward in life and the universe. We forget that everything is temporary but as long as we keep learning, we will find better and more awesome ways to experience this universe and the lifetime we have.

And at the end of it all, the deathbed that awaits us which will show us the life that we’ve lived before we leave, that is what is going to matter most. That is what we will remember and or regret at the end.

This, is why learning is important.

Every person learns at a different rate. They absorb information at different speeds and some only have certain capacities before new knowledge comes to a halt and it has to be a repeated event before they are able to learn more. Some, pick things up from the get go and are gone.

I, have never had a problem learning something, if my interest was high in it. I have this ability to just keep going and going until the thing I need to find out has been found out. I learned at a young age that there is more then one way to get to a piece of information. And that was always my fuel for the ability to figure things out.

The problem came from having certain tasks and or topics I didn’t like being shoved down my throat and therefore either got bored or developed a hatred for said things, which caused me some very difficult times in order to learn them properly.

But when it came to complex things like code during my days as a programmer? When it came to finding out words in another language? When it came to figuring people’s actions based on deductive reasoning? Or perhaps games and how to make certain things happen? There was never a way to stop me. If I wanted to learn it, it would be mine.

But the one thing that has taken an entire lifetime to learn, and possibly something I am still continuing to learn to this day, is how to be less selfish. How to try and think of others as much as possible before I would move to think for myself. Notice how I didn’t say completely selfish. But less selfish.

You see I have also learnt that you can’t be 100% selfless, because that is what allows the world to walk all over you. It allows you to become an easy target. And it allows life to move ahead without you, because somewhere along the line of trying to do everything for others, you forget to take care of yourself. And so sometimes you have to be selfish in order to take care of yourself, before you can take care of others. Sometimes, that is going to require a healthy amount of selfishness.

But to be less selfish with others? To do something that will ultimately takeaway from you so that others can have a bit more? Because lets face it, that kind of balance is required, because if we could give without it costing us? We would all do that all day long! If we could all just think of others first, just a tiny bit? How much better would this world be? How much more would we have taken care of each other had we done that from the beginning of time?

This was one of the hardest things I have had to learn to date. Because while being nice feels nice, having everything I wanted sooner rather then later due to being selfish always seems like a better option. Because there isn’t as much time in between what I want vs when I can have it.

I began to realise that being less selfish wasn’t just about it feeling nice. It was about storing good karma, not just for self, but for the world. It was about making the world better one step at a time so that one day we can feel the effects of that goodness come back around because that is what it will do. It will cause a ripple through our social natures and it will come back to serve us all. And I mean us as humanity.

Most of us will never experience the goodness to come back around and to serveĀ each of us during our lifetime. But that is the beauty of it. You don’t have to. Because while you do something for someone else, someone else may do the same for you!

So at the end of the day, maybe it does come back around to serve us in our life time, doesn’t it?

It’s hard to talk about serving others selflessly because it will come back to take care of us, without seeming selfish entirely about it. Because if we were going to lose all that energy with nothing to gain for it, were we going to do it in the first place?

Learning to Serve

This was the most important thing I learned. That as humanity, we aren’t going to ever do something if there is no return in it. But in order for that return to be fruitful, we have to make decisions to be less selfish without ever thinking of what we get in return. We have to do it as if that energy is going to be spent for free and we will get nothing in return for it. Because that is when it truly does come back around to serve us. That is when it truly begins to serve humanity as a whole.

Chicken or the egg, right? Be selfless without expectation, and everything that you potentially could have ever expected, will be.

I could have saved myself so much time had I been taught to learn better. Had I been taught to pay attention to important things but in a more appealing way, better. But that didn’t happen, and I had to learn to learn. I had to figure out that what I was learning and how it was happening was shit, and it needed to change. And it did not come easy to me. While that may be the case, I don’t think I’m done learning about that either. I have this feeling that life is going to be throwing a few more things my way.

Never stop learning to learn.

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