A Humble Posture of Learning

November 21, 2019-

One of the things our parents instilled in my siblings and me is that it’s possible to learn from anyone.  I took that as a dictum to listen and to draw lessons from what someone does, as well as what is said.

Jordan Peterson’s tenth rule for life is just that:  “Learn from those who know what you don’t know.”  Watching and listening is always a good thing, when combined with the ability to discern right from wrong.  I can listen to someone describe how they snookered gullible people, in their old neighbourhood, and LEARN:  1). How not to let that person, or someone like him/her, take advantage of me; 2.  How not to treat a gullible person.  On the other hand, I can watch and listen, carefully, to a seasoned automobile engine mechanic demonstrate how to remove and replace the rings and valves of the engine, and maybe, given the right circumstances, perform the activity myself.

A Roma man, in Paris, after failing to con me into taking a ring that I had seen him drop on the sidewalk, decided to tell me of  other tricks that his rivals, on the Right Bank of the Seine, might try on me.  These tips came in handy, especially as when it started pouring rain, I only wanted to get back to my hotel.  Yes, the scams included “Monsieur, look! My uncle is coming, with his pedicab!!” (There was no pedicab, as my Roma friend had told me there wouldn’t be.   He had said that, if I looked on cue, two deft fingers would search my back pockets.  As it happened, I had only a soiled handkerchief in my  back right pocket, and nothing in my left, as my valuables were secure, elsewhere.)

One can also learn from observing others, and from overhearing them.  I try to keep that to a polite minimum, but it has often been beneficial, so long as I don’t try to inject myself into their business, without cause.

The greater point is:  None of us knows everything, and those who pretend as much, fool few outside of their own circle-if even them.  Baha’u’llah prescribes adopting a humble posture of learning.  It is that which leads me to read, to observe what goes on around my Home Base, to stay abreast of  current events and to travel, when time avails itself.

9 thoughts on “A Humble Posture of Learning

  1. Hi Traveler.
    I can safely say that, listening to people talk, attentively, is something I learned to do, in the rooms. Not knowing how I was going to become a man myself, and knowing not how I was going to get on with my life, all those years ago, I listened. I listened to what everyone said, THEN I watched what they did. If the two did not match, I knew what not to do.

    Sitting in rooms day in and day out, one hears many things. From one side of the spectrum to the other. Good, Bad, and everything in between. I took on successful pursuits, and I let go the bad ones. I used good choices and eschewed bad ones. How I got sober was by doing what the smart people did, and ignoring what the less than smart people did.

    The rooms are a wealth of “just what not to do” that is for sure. But in the same token, there is a modicum of good stuff as well. It took me a long time to figure out who had it and who didn’t. Double digit years of listening.

    Also, it took me double digit years of self reflection to realize that I had something to transmit. Because I did not think myself very smart for a long time, based on what I was hearing from others. Also, to coin a phrase … “just because you have time, does not necessarily mean that you are sober!” Another long time learned lesson.

    Oprah says that every life is a class … use your life as a class. Every story matters, if we take the time to listen, not to respond, but to understand.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to work in a ball park and bar. I took the entrance fee and told people they couldn’t take their beers into the parking lot (which resulted in many people throwing beers at me). Anyway, I had to go to the bathroom really bad, and I contacted the four wheeler to send someone from kitchen up. A boy my age came into view a few minutes later and told me W had relieved me. I was like, thank God! I gave him a box with 1000 dollars worth of cash and came back after the restroom and my box and the boy were gone. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t have to pay it back, but they started collecting money from the stand every hour, and I was allowed to use the bathroom. This was after I peed myself. I didn’t get yelled at, but I got a lecture.

    Liked by 1 person

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