Take the Lesson not the Teacher

“Life is a school of the spirit. It shapes your psychic, nurtures your senses and aligns your aspirations.”

Learning is the best way to understand our world, our lives and everything that goes about in it. From the very day we started talking we knew something about what life meant and we knew someone we could trust, most common is our mothers. They are the first people we ever call, the first word we utter and that’s a product of learning. Onwards we keep on being on the journey always learning, unlearning and relearning until we decide not to or we are forced to stop by our circumstances which is also a choice. However, this is not why I’m writing this piece. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking through each of my interactions with people. The ones I love, those I like, those I feel nothing for or against and those I’m not so fond of. On the same note, I went through the spectrum of experiences and the general tendency to align to a particular set of experiences, people and situations. It’s commonplace and almost automatic but it may not be the best way.

I recently read an article that stated that in the current dispensation of human capital, the most valuable individuals will be the generalists not specialists. From the article, I took time to analyze and critique the argument exhaustively and came to a conclusion that it’s both true and false. In my world and from my perspective, we’ll need specialists with an open mindset ready to think through complex situations and scenarios in our different spaces, inject a different line of thinking and take a swing on it. With generalist thinking we can tackle almost any problem but with a specialized way of thinking we block other options and ways of doing things. That’s a lost course as it can never be remedied unless we get to fire every specialist and go the other way round. This is a prelude to why I’m writing this piece today.

We learn from our experiences, individuals we encounter and the spaces we occupy. In general every instance of consciousness is a moment to take something in. The choice is with us whether to take it in or not to. Often times we have people who are choosy with the lessons to take depending on the source, the experience and the space they are in. We need to invoke curiosity into our being at every moment because it’s what makes us learn and pick information. There are also those of us who choose the teachers to learn from. By so doing we downplay and never pick the nuggets of wisdom and insight from these people; the very attributes and features that have a chance of playing out for our good. Remember that bad boss you hated? The one who kept pushing you around? Oh! And that lecturer who was always on your case? You hated him/her because you thought he/she was so tough on you. Or maybe there is some negative story that was going around that made you judge him/her negatively. That put a mental block on you and therefore whenever they were sharing anything with you it was a bother and you never inflected it to see the value you could derive out of it. That’s where you started losing your chance to learn. Oh! And being a software engineer doesn’t mean you must work in a tech company. You can bring your skills to my world (healthcare & pharmaceuticals) and drive massive change there.

In life I believe our greatest mission is to learn and put the lessons to use. If lucky then share them with others. When we have an opportunity to learn then it is in our best interest to learn and make the best of it. In our experiences, may we not get to choose the people to teach us, experiences to learn from and the spaces to operate in. And when we do, may we be open to new possibilities and experiences for by so doing we stand a chance to do better and get better. That’s the value of our life on this earth; amassing ourselves in it fully trying to find meaning and make sense of the senseless as we enjoy every bit of it.

Take the lesson not the teacher unless yours is a case like President Macron then it’s all okay. All the best.

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