In a previous blog post, I discussed how our mind operates in such a way as to create severe limitations for us on all important areas of our lives. I also tried to discuss the reasons behind this inherently problematic function of our mind.
In the same post, I continued with presenting 10 practical (and readily available for you to use) tips to address our mind’s fundamental shortcomings.
Now, upon popular demand (thank you very much for your sincere interest!), I will proceed, in the coming days and weeks, with publishing 10 different blog posts.
Each one of these 10 posts shall elaborate further on every one of my respective 10 tips.
This time, we focus on the third tip, namely: “Adopt A Student And Practitioner Mentality In Everything You Engage With“.
Learning And Growing Is Your Birthright AND Obligation
People often wonder what’s their life’s purpose. I dare say that you’re among one of them. Because, let’s be honest: who isn’t?
Here, I would like to be bold. So let me actually propose an answer to the question torturing so many a human being since the appearance of our species on the surface of this beautiful planet.
The purpose of your life is to always learn new things and grow to your next best version.
That’s right: learning and growing is not only your birthright. It’s also your number one obligation in life.
That’s it. Not achieving or accumulating things (we covered this topic in my previous blog post).
I don’t utterly dismiss these pursuits, don’t get me wrong. But what I claim is that they’re supposed to act as no more than supporting pillars to your life’s core purpose.
So, you learn by always considering yourself a student of any situation you experience in your life.
And you grow by constantly acting from a practitioner space, in every undertaking you partake.
Let’s now examine these two notions (Student and Practitioner), one by one, and a bit closer.
A Hungry, Determined And Humble Student Is Meant To Go Far In Life
This heading gives you the three key traits that make you the ideal student in the short and long run.
First is hunger.
That is: hunger for knowing, learning, and experiencing always new, and evermore exciting, things.
Hunger also means you’re never willing to settle within your occasional comfort zone. You always want to learn something new, something that will test you and make you a better and more resilient human being in the process.
However, here I would like to draw your attention: please, avoid confusing hunger for knowledge with permanent discomfort and unease. The hunger to learn must emanate from an emotional space of happiness and acceptance of your present life situation. Not from a place of desperation and discontent. The latter can only (dis)serve you in making your judgment blurry and stray you away from following the optimal course of action in each case.
Then, we have determination.
To be a good student, you must be ready and willing to deal with any difficulty challenging you on your chosen “learning course”.
Moreover, you should be unmovable in your persistence to go through, all the way, with the occasional object of your learning process. In other words, with the occasional activity you engage with.
Again, some attention is warranted here: you should be careful to refrain from confusing determination with stubbornness. A good and wise student knows when AND how to let go of a situation that doesn’t serve them.
(By the way, learning to distinguish which situation serves you and which doesn’t, is another key skill for you, the student of life. This topic alone deserves a dedicated post. I hope I crack on with it one of these days).
Finally, we have humility.
Humility is an important one, since there also happens to be a lot of room for misinterpretation here.
A humble student is one who, first, knows how to carefully choose their teacher. In particular, they select a teacher whom they can trust and resonate with. Whom they respect and look up to. One for whom they know that under their tutelage they can move on to their next evolutionary stage. And they can do so in the most optimal way for them.
The teacher can be a person or a situation. A good student will benefit from the guidance of many an excellent teacher in their lifetime. And I believe it’s evident that, spiritually, the most sacred relationship in life is the student-teacher one.
And one more word of advice here: don’t get too anxious about finding the “perfect” teacher for you. Trust in the truth and wisdom enshrined in the well-known saying: “When the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear”. And remain alert.
The other crucial element of a humble student is that they fully understand their place in the Game of Life. First of all, they know that nobody’s bigger than this Game, including, of course, themselves.
Then, they quickly discover and embrace that they can never be in control of the events of their life. Instead, it’s their life’s events that shape their actions and the path they are meant to follow.
This being said, humility should not be mistaken for submissiveness and weakness. And a good student must make this crystal clear with their actions, whenever the opportunity (or, rather, threat) arises.
At the same time, the humble student avoids taking anything too personal. They also know how to swiftly let go of anything that’s now gone and cannot serve them any longer.
Practice Makes Perfect, As Long As It Never Stops
Hey, you didn’t think this would be the one article I wouldn’t bring science in, did you?
I knew you didn’t!
So, here’s a very interesting article from the webpage of the prestigious Brown University, one of the elite eight Ivy League Universities in US. The title of this article, summarizing the findings of an interesting study, says it all: “Practice makes perfect, and overlearning locks it it”.
[By the way, between you and me: don’t you find that, very often, these studies, conducted by some of the most highly regarded academic and / or research institutions, seem to do nothing more than validating the obvious?
Still, I like to make reference to them, since science remains – for now – the most widely accepted and mainstream source of knowledge on us, humans, and the universe we live in].
So, yes, practice makes perfect, but only as long as it never stops.
Ergo the title of my post, inviting you to operate throughout your life from a practitioner’s standpoint.
Here, we again stand in front of one of life’s beautiful paradoxes:
You can achieve perfection only as far as you never stop striving for it.
In other words, you attain perfection as long as you make sure you’re always one step (no more, no less) behind it.
And it’s clear that the road to perfection is paved by continuous, regimented and strict, yet also tongue-in-cheek and playful (did I hear you saying something about paradoxes?), practice.
I will repeat here what I said in an earlier blog post: it’s not coincidental that two of the most respected and prolific professions nowadays – medical doctors and lawyers – have “practices”.
So, the key in mastering whatever you find yourself involved in during your lifetime is the following:
Practice, practice, practice!
And, remember: the outcome of any endeavor you embark on is essentially not up to you. On the other hand, the time and effort you devote into practicing to become better at it and grow is entirely up to you.
And, you know, if you do your level best in learning and practicing any craft, then you’re likely to get the best outcome for you out of it.
Not perhaps the one you (thought you) wanted in advance. But the one that, as it turns out, you truly needed.
Until next time, make sure you keep on:
a) learning; and
b) practicing the new things you’re learning!
Have a great one!
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