When we’re learning, we’re so much more open. There’s a freedom, a feeling of being able to change, of knowing we can make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. My central goal is to always be in that process of learning.
My husband teaches at the University of California in Los Angeles and his dean’s favorite piece of wisdom is “The gift is in the problem.”
When I’m learning and having fun, I’m aware that I’m learning. When I’m in the midst of a problem, I have to more actively remind myself that it’s a learning opportunity. I ask myself, What’s the learning opportunity or the gift in this problem?
In a wonderful little book I just read, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv talks about this family’s realization that they were feeling stressed out. They all sat down and made lists of the things they loved to do and the things they hated to do.
The son’s list really surprised the mom because it turned out he didn’t like soccer at all, though that’s what he’d been playing. What he liked to do was work in the backyard garden. They all realized that what they liked was being outside and going on long walks. So the parents cut down on their overtime at work and on some outside social engagements, and they started going on long walks as a family.
What if we pay attention to what makes us feel loving and lovable and do those things? It probably means not doing at least a few other things – maybe even a lot of other things – that we think we’re supposed to do.
Maybe finding balance is a matter of choosing between uncertain happiness and certain unhappiness. There’s a sense of security in certainty. Even if certainty is connected to unhappiness, people are probably likely to choose certainty because it feels safer.
There’s a little spice of uncertainty in every learning moment that makes it also exciting, even if also a little scary. Be excited about possibilities rather than afraid of them. There might be something incredibly beautiful or wonderful or happier or healthier just around the corner.
– Pamela Beere Briggs