“There is no difference between living and learning… It is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.” ~ John Holt
In many ways modern technology makes our lives easier, but, somewhat paradoxically, it also adds complexity. With the advances come challenges that we couldn’t have imagined years ago. I have heard the same question from several young people, including my own sons: “Why do we need to learn so much stuff when we have Google?” I have tried to explain to them the immense value in having a storehouse of knowledge from which to draw on in order to efficiently evaluate the situations that we encounter in the course of living our lives, as well as to communicate and connect with the people we meet. Knowing information gives us a sense of self-reliance, and knowing facilitates the acquisition of wisdom.
There can also be, however, wisdom inherent in not knowing. When we think we know everything, we limit ourselves from growth because our minds are closed to other possibilities. I teach my sons that responding to a question with the phrase “I don’t know” isn’t something to be ashamed of, it is something to embrace. There is a great deal of power in being comfortable saying, “I don’t know” because it allows us to remain open to the discovery of that which is beyond our current understanding. The freedom in “I don’t know” is the opportunity to learn.
As we go about our lives, our brains are processing information and we are learning in every moment, even when we are not conscious of doing so. Open your eyes and look around you. Become aware of how much there is to know that is offered to you in the present moment. When we embrace the idea that living and learning are not separate, we can truly thrive in the experience of both.
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