When I found out that this month’s RAOKA topic was wisdom, I felt moved to write because, well, I really love to learn. First to get things straight…in my humble opinion it is possible to learn, but not necessarily be wise. A great deal of learning in an academic setting involves memorizing facts in order to do well on a test (including those standardized ones), only to be forgotten moments and days later. Yes this might be learning but I’m not sure it’s wisdom.
When I think of wisdom, I think not just about learning…but a real passion for learning. I think about someone who learns and consistently applies what he or she learns to his or her life. When I think wisdom, I think deep learning and understanding.
Some of my greatest moments in college are the moments I felt enlightened after walking out of an amazing lecture from one of my professors. You know, the light-bulb moment. I love that feeling. I still remember a lecture in my Communications class where our professor used the movie The Poseidon Adventure to study small group interaction. What is amazing is that it has been nearly 20 years since that class and I still remember most of the details (OMG, has it been that long? Man, I’m getting old.). I also remember my humanities professor taught us about Smetna’s The Moldau and it absolutely changed my perspective and appreciation for that amazing piece of symphonic music.
But the beautiful thing is that wisdom and learning need not take place at school. We can do it any day at any time from any place. Sure, we can learn from books, but some of our deepest, most important lessons come from talking to others: our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, co-workers and friends. Listening to their stories, we learn about their successes and their failures.
Some of my favorite places to learn these days include the Internet (where I can check out Twitter, blogs and Wikipedia on a constant basis), National Public Radio, Toastmasters, television (yes, television can be good for you too), and my kitchen. I like to think of my kitchen as my edible chemistry lab…some of my experiments work and some don’t work so well.
Perhaps most importantly of all, wisdom means that we need to share what we learn with others. This might mean our kids, younger co-workers, members of the “next generation,” and even our blog readers. I feel very strongly about giving back to others in the form of teaching and good conversation which might include some words of wisdom.
Yes, I love to learn and I’m curious by nature. It’s something I’m passionate about. Even though it has been years since I’ve graduated, I continue to learn so many new things. It makes me realize and appreciate why graduation is also referred to as “commencement” because it really is just the beginning.
How about you…what is your favorite light-bulb moment?
Thank you to Lori at JaneBeNimble for the invite to participate in the monthly RAOKA (Random Acts of Kick Arse) series. For more information please visit her blog here.
Creative Commons photo of Starbuck’s wisdom coffee cup courtesy of Denise Cross.