Nobody can keep going to school forever, but in life, we never stop learning. There are many lessons that life brings us from outside of the classroom, each situation, each knock, each space we inhabit, brings with it a new lesson to be learned. There are quiet teachers accompanying us on our path through life, teaching us the lessons that classrooms never could and bringing with them the miracles of the world.
Life is not always peaceful. Even those with the greatest achievements have encountered bitter failures. Failure is, of course, not the end of any journey; it is actually the beginning. Indeed, failure is life’s most devoted teacher, it is inevitable and often necessary. Failure helps us see through our shortcomings to improve ourselves and our endeavors. In the face of failure, whether it is severe or not, if you don’t give up, you will succeed.
President Donald Trump is a good exemplar of the fact that if you do not give up, you will succeed. In his business career, he engaged in numerous costly yet fruitless business such as Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Casino, Trump game, Trump Magazine, Trump BBQ, GoTrump.com, Trump University, and Trump Mortgage, to name a few.
However, for Trump, failure was only a part of the process hat led to success. After each failure, he never ceased to learn a lesson and equip himself with the mindset of “going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. He realized that “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.” He allowed his failure to become a genuine teacher, after each failure, he could harness his experience, will, bravery and determination to move forward towards his goal.
Observing the trajectory of Donald Trump from being a real estate magnate who owned a number of skyscrapers to the 45th president of the United States, we have witnessed how his “losing a battle” enabled him to “win the war”.
Thomas Alva Edison is another example of success born from the teachings of failure. Edison started his research on the electric light bulb in March 1878. After conducting thousands of experiments, the first light bulb was made in October 1879, which lasted for only 40 hours.
“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways in which it won’t work,”
Edison is quoted to have said with regard to the thousands of unsuccessful experiments he conducted in order to find the solution to the creation of one of the most important inventions in history.
If you learn from failure and look at it from a different perspective, you will find that it is an opportunity to awaken your internal giant, so that you can take larger and sturdier steps.
It is said that every cloud has a silver lining and that lining is often a valuable lesson. The more fairly you fight, the more hardships you face. Failure is truly our most devoted teacher, who will always anticipate what is best for you.
Since ancient times, books have been considered an exemplary teacher. They have always been considered our greatest tool for learning and cultivation across every corner of the globe.
Sima Guang was a famous Prime Minister and historian during the Song Dynasty (1019-1086). Once, when he saw his son mindlessly holding a book in his hands, he immediately criticized the young man by saying, “A nobleman would love to read holy books. First and foremost, he must appreciate books.”
Jewish parents are known to routinely spray perfume into books to encourage young children to read. They believe that “what we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.”
Successful people worldwide have always highly valued books. Men such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Jeff Bezos, all have their favorite books and understand that reading books is the most effective way to learn about the ideas and experiences of others.
Books are the teachers who are always quietly by your side, capable of helping you to acquire knowledge in any field at any time, without ego or expectation. Books do not only teach you about what is but also what could be, what is dreamt and imagined. Books are the keepers of creativity, wonder, and thought. When you read a book, it does more than just simple inform you about its subject, it becomes a part of who you are in a way that no other medium can. It is the teacher that never leaves your side.
This thought is put simply by best selling author Harvey Mackay, “Our lives change in two ways: through the people we meet and the books we read”.
In fact, there are many examples of life-changing books…
Even the intellectual and high-ranking people of the world such as college professors, successful businessman or captains of industry, never cease in searching for the answers to the biggest questions in life. Many spend their lives endeavoring to read the great philosophical texts of the world. There is one book however that offers a different perspective, an enlightening perspective that brings peace to all those who read it. People of different races and nationalities can find the answers to all of their concerns in the book Zhuan Falun – the main book of the cultivation practice of Falun Dafa.
“Once I began reading the book, I just kept reading it all day. I didn’t even care about turning the light on, as I was totally absorbed by the book. After each chapter, I wanted to read the next one and the one after that. After finishing it, I felt like my whole world was changed.”
“I read the book all night. After that, I felt like it has multiple dimensions. You read it once, and when you read it again, there is another layer of logic. There are such numerous layers.”
“I have traveled around the world but couldn’t find the answer to the question: How to be happy? What is the root of all suffering?” one Falun Dafa practitioner is quoted to have said.
“It was a pivotal day that changed my entire life. I found all of the answers to life and the universe. I found the key to my fate and the life of my family and friends. After 20 years and millions of mileage, I finally understand what is ultimate happiness!” shared another of the followers.
You might find it surprising to consider that nature is your most intimate and creative teacher. It is, however, the teacher who has accompanied you since your childhood. From when you would hang out with your friends, flying kites, or playing hide and seek, running through its soft nurturing landscapes and breathing in its life-giving air, nature has been your teacher. To head-clearing, city escaping walks, illuminating sunsets and playfully relaxing days on the beach with toes in the sand and feet in the surf. Nature is your medicine, and that medicine is a teacher.
Nature has endless lessons for us to learn and countless ways for us to learn them.
There is a story about an encounter between Confucius and Laozi. When the two get to Huang He river, Laozi points at the water and tells Confucius,
“Why don’t you learn from water? Water benefits all things and does not compete with them. It stays in lowly places that others reject. This is why it is so similar to the Way (Dao). Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield; this is the virtue.”
Confucius immediately became enlightened, and said,
“People stay up high; water stays in low places. People live in comfort; water resides in perilous places. People live in clean places; water stays in the dirt. Water stays in places that people do not like. Who is there to compete with it?”
When we are mindful about nature, we feel the miracle of nature. We have the opportunity to feel and learn about everything and anything. The worlds lessons are held in mother nature, her lessons are there if we are willing to see them.
Considered the Mozart of Greece, the great composer of romantic instrumental pieces, Yanni, would often say when asked about his inspiration, “I always listen to nature, there, I can learn many things.”
“I remember once many years ago, when I was sitting at a window, a little nightingale flew in. With the sunset as the backdrop, it was a gorgeous scene. I could feel the language and the melody of the birdsong. Therefore, I decided to compose the piece, Nightingale.”
When listening to ‘Nightingale’, it is hard to ignore the sense of immense space. A feeling of nightingales, with their own emotions and voices, flying to the new horizon, is conjured.
The lesson that nature taught Yanni, in his work as a composer, was how to feel, understand and communicate. Each note echoes the voice of nature, and through this, we can realize that nature has led humans to create a great many wonderful things.
As life becomes increasingly full of artificially created objects, nature is the teacher that shows us how to rediscover and fathom ourselves, it is what brings us back to our purest origin. Nature stores within herself the deepest knowledge, she holds the line from which we differentiate right from wrong, good versus evil, compassion, connection, and love.
In the novel ‘The Brothers Karamazov’, Dostoevsky writes, “Without faith, the atheists suppose that everything is legal. Therefore, they could do anything without fear, even committing crimes.”
Similarly, in his research, Dr. Will Gervais, Kentucky University, points out that people seem to consider religion the essence of morality. Without religion, people would misbehave because nobody asks them to be honest. Nobody tells them why they should not lie, steal, or commit wrongdoings. They are not afraid of karma, hell or punishment from God.
When people believe that God exists and is watching over them or have a belief in karma, they intrinsically know how to restrain themselves and not commit crimes for their own best interest.
People who believe in truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance always require for themselves, to be honest, to do good, to walk in others’ shoes, and to tolerate others even at the expense of their own interests. Their commitment to truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance empowers them to live a life of peace and freedom, attaining eternal happiness along the way.
Each of us will encounter many of life’s teachers on our journey through life. Their lessons are plenty and their subjects are vast. The teachers of life do not only teach you the knowledge of academia but more importantly how to live righteously and empower you to find out your ultimate purpose in life.
(The cover photo from visualhunt.com)