You can learn from anyone. You can learn from everyone. No matter what age, gender, culture, background or life experience. There is always something you can learn. You can especially learn from the person that you respect the least.
To be able to do that requires a special kind of attitude
that recognises that even if you disagree with someone about most things or
dislike a person with a great deal of passion, they still have something to
offer you. They can teach you something about something.
On the flipside, even if someone disagrees with you about
most things or dislikes you with a great deal of passion, you have something to
offer them. You can teach them something about something.
As with most things that are difficult, it requires an act
of generosity. The act of generosity in this is to recognise the fact that
learning can come from anyone, and then to seek it out. Of course, it is easier
said than done, but it is an act of generosity towards others and towards
Towards others because when you seek to learn from someone
you actually communicate to them that they have value. What greater generosity
could there be?
Towards yourself because in seeking to learn from someone
else, especially someone that you don’t like, creates a posture of humility,
ready to learn and ready to grow. That is an amazing gift for you.
Riding a bike is easy, once you know how. When you know how, it’s almost impossible to remember what it was like to not be able to ride a bike. It’s something that you never forget how to do, it’s like, well, riding a bike.
It’s not until someone points out to you that there was a time that you didn’t know how, that you can stop and see just how far you have come.
It’s the same with anything in life. Each day we learn and grow and it’s not until someone creates a space for us to stop and reflect on where we have come from and what we have achieved that we begin to understand how far we really have come. I’m not the same person I was 30 years ago, or 20 years ago, or 10, or 5. I’m not the same person I was 12 months ago. My hope is that my life will always be like that as I continue to grow and learn.
If it’s true for me, it’s true for you and for our world. In relation to some of the big issues in our world we have come such a long way. Take poverty for example: since 1990 over 1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty, a larger percentage of girls are in school, about 50,000 less children under the age of 5 are dying every single day because of hunger and easily curable diseases. We have made some incredible progress.
The journey is far from over though, with much work to do (jump on board and help us out!), but we have great reason to hope and to take time to stop and say, look how far we have come.