What a great place to start. I am sure you have heard the famous quote, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” There is nothing so much an impossible task as the one that tries to persuade another human being to do something they do not want to do. I know I had a hard enough time convincing myself I needed help let alone convince someone else who wanted nothing to do with being convinced.
There is a Willingness Involved
Let’s examine what it is to become a student. It says that learning is virtually infinite as long as I am willing and prepared to learn or, “to come to know” as Merriam Webster puts it; if I am simply willing to listen and consider. There is no greater failure than to not examine all information before rendering a decision. I can literally disregard 99.9% of every concept that comes at me as long as I at least consider it.
By that concept alone, I will learn more than the individual who won’t look at most, if not all perspectives and angles. To close your mind to the minuscule amounts of wisdom that may come your way is truly a tragedy and it conjures the phrase you don’t know what you don’t know… not good. Be willing to at least listen, assess, then formulate your opinions and decisions.
An Open Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
To be the student all you have to be is open to the possibility that there just might be another way. What can that hurt? Are we afraid we are so easily influenced, captivated and impressionable that we can’t listen to all points of view. I have often had my eyes opened to concepts and realities that I never knew existed because I kept and open mind and didn’t wast it. Recovery is a perfect example. What I have discovered on my journey I never knew existed.
Being open-minded in no way implies that you have to agree or internalize all that you are absorbing. Being a student simply means contemplate and evaluate based on what your principles and values are at the time you are pondering the information. That is really all we can do. Be open to hearing out what is being said, sung, broadcast or written.
It is Fun to Learn
To be the student means you get to learn. I don’t know about you but I love to learn. Especially when I meet someone for the first time or heck, even in the grocery store line. I love to ask questions and find out more about them and more often than not, that leads to me learning something I didn’t know. Personally I try to learn more than just one thing every day but I can’t do that if I am not ready to receive answers I think I have already.
I said it before, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” That is like being in a blackout. I always operate on the assumption that I don’t know. Unless I know something as much as I know that 2 + 2 = 4, I figure I don’t know and even then I will question all angles to make sure. I get lazy sometimes sure, but that makes me look silly and it also puts me right back in my place. The place of being always a student first.
Enjoy the Student Life
It is almost liberating to be a student. Then you really never have to claim that you know anything. You can ask and explore all kinds of ideas and never really cling to any of them if they don’t lead you to the answer that rings true for you. If that happens, keep asking, learning, inquiring.
To be always learning is the gift of being human. Could you imagine If you never had anything more to learn? What would you do? Think about when you accomplish something. Of course, you celebrate and enjoy it but don’t you usually say OK, what’s next? Always be the student because there are an endless amount of teachers out there and you can learn from all of them, all you want.