It had just rained. The grass was wet but not waterlogged. The smell is distinctly clean and fresh. Bertie was running with his older brother (from a different mother) in a game of chase. He was 6 months old and his brother was 2 years old. His brother was naturally faster, spanning his long legs while Bertie tried to catch up n vain. No matter how much he stretched his legs and ran, he still lagged behind. He stopped and barked at his faster brother. His guardian chuckled because he knew that it was just a matter of time before Bertie outran his brother as his brother was a Poodle and Bertie was a Whippet.
Sometimes in life, do you get frustrated because you feel you should have learned something a long time ago but you did not? Do you feel like others are more advanced than you in some way? Maybe they are more evolved in their degree of maturity? Perhaps they seemed more ‘clued in’ about life? Maybe you feel they have experienced more than you? Or ‘lived more life’ than you? Are there lessons you felt, “Man, I should have known this ages ago? How different my life would be then? Why did no one teach this to me?” You can get annoyed, depressed, and dejected when you feel you are in a low spot that could have been avoided if you knew a piece of information or were ‘smarter’.
Well, don’t. Our learning meets us exactly when we need to learn, according to our understanding of life, the universe, and ourselves. The reality is the lessons were almost definitely present in your life all this time but you were just not open to them yet. Your time was not due and your cup was full. Your level of understanding of the world, life, and yourself was not at the level of the lesson being presented. It is like trying to teach the importance of financial management to a teenager who is still living at home. There was no need or incentive for that teenager to learn about how to manage his money. No pain, no sale. It is only when he is starting to pay for his own rent or mortgage when he may find it crucial to understand more. He may even say, “Why did my parents not teach me something as important as keeping a roof over my head?” Or, if he is more aware, he may realise that his parents have been telling him about it but he was just not listening. He was hearing but not understanding. He was just not ready. Now he is ready to understand the lessons that have been shouting at him all these time.
Have you experienced a relationship when you have been trying to explain an idea to your partner but he just does not get it? Then suddenly one day, he comes to you and tells you about a great idea he had and it was your idea you have been trying to communicate all along! This can also happen at work whether you are sharing an idea with your boss or team. Perhaps, it was not because they did not listen to you, were not bright enough, or being antagonizing. It could just be simply because they were not ready for that idea, understanding, or lesson yet. It was not yet relevant for them. It needed for them to be in another situation or another time to tweak the bit in them to become more receptive. Some things can’t be rushed.
Not only do we all have our individual journeys to embark on, but we are also unique in our genetic makeup and environmental influence. We can undergo the same event and you and I can find different experiences and meanings for it. The meaning you give to an experience becomes the experience itself. It could be very different for both of us. We will take on a different meaning and subsequent lessons to the same event depending on what stage we are in our lives and our understanding of self and needs. If the lesson is not needed, you will be less likely to see it.
So how should we go about learning? May I suggest three points to consider? Firstly, understand the need to grow. Many people make the mistake of thinking that learning stops when you leave school and the rest of your life is for living and enjoying what you have learned in school. That thinking can prove to be extremely limiting. If you could look at your life consisting of growing instead of just ‘living’, that would allow you to ‘live by growing’. Growing is indeed one of the human needs. The feeling of growing is not only rewarding but also fulfilling. Secondly, free your mind and get ready to learn anytime. Keeping your cup empty keeps you humble and open to new growth and learning. Stay hungry. Actively seek out lessons in all you do and in your environment. Even if you are not at the level of understanding to absorb what others may take it, you are receptive to the learnings that meet you exactly where you are in your life. Lastly, practice gratitude. Be grateful for any situation, event, or people that are helping you to grow. Even if someone is winding you up or making you upset, understand that he is there to help you grow. You can either get upset, have all the negative feelings, and ruining your day or you can have all those feelings and pull a lesson out of it at the end, thereby, not ‘wasting’ the experience.
So, when you feel like you are ‘behind’ in life and understanding in life, understand that you are exactly where you need to be. You are not ‘slow’ or ‘lacking’ in any way. Yes, you may have catch up to do, however, the timing is perfect and just the way it should be. It is not too soon nor too late. That is the beauty of learning in life. There are no set syllabus or lessons objectives to be achieved in a given time. There are no pre-requisites or things that you should know by a certain age or level in life. It just simply is. You are exactly where you need to be for your personal growth. Not too early, never too late. Run your own race. No rush.
Bertie, undoubtedly, will learn that he is fast in time. Are you patient with your learnings in life?
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready, the teacher disappears.” – Lao Tzu