Unlearn What You Have Been Taught

do not followToday is Sunday, January 19, 2014.

Follow the leader.  –>  Be the leader.Follow the trail.  –>  Blaze your own trail.
Follow directions.  –>  Follow your gut.
Follow the crowd.  –>  Follow your bliss.
Follow this advice.  –>  Follow your dreams.
Follow the rules.  –>  Question the rules.Do as I say.  –>  Do what you love.
Be safe.  –>  Be awesome!

The futurist Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”  The character Yoda in Star Wars said pretty much the same thing: “You must unlearn what you have learned.”   What are some of the things we need to unlearn?

The people in charge have all the answers. They might have some answers, but not all of them, and their answers are for them, not necessarily for you.  Find your own answers.

There is always one right answer.  Definitely not!  In many areas of life, what is right for other people will not be right for you.  This is especially true in the areas of diet and exercise, but also in the matter of career path and spiritual growth.   The Zen masters say that you have to throw out all the “right” answers in order for you to be taught something really new.

The experts (or textbooks) are always right.  What gets put into textbooks is often simply the most “accepted” information at the time, and there is often more advanced knowledge available, but it hasn’t trickled down to the level of schools yet.  Remember that the “experts” predicted that human beings would never fly and certainly never make it to the moon.  Other so-called experts predicted that there was no market for personal computers, but you’re using one, aren’t you?  (And if you’re using a smart phone, you do know that’s a computer, don’t you?)

There is a single, clear path to success. As successful people in all areas of life can attest, there are many roads to Rome.  There are usually several different paths you could take, and sometimes you just have to blaze your own.  The path is never that clear, and sometimes we just have to go on instinct or intuition without stopping to analyze everything to death.

Learning stops once you leave school.  Not by a long shot.  That was just for starters.  Your real learning begins once you’ve graduated.  Life has a lot to teach all of us.  If we think of our lives as learning experiences, we have a more positive framework in which to process difficult situations.

Your standardized test scores in school can predict your success in life.  Your scores only tell how well you answer some questions relative to others who have taken the test.  They will not predict your ability to succeed in college, how much money you can earn, whether you will succeed in life, how well you will do your job, or how stable your relationships will be.

It’s best not to rock the boat.  Although there are definitely times not to rock the boat, there are also times to break the rules, question the status-quo, think your own thoughts, or blow the whistle when something is not right.  Use your own judgment, not the judgment of others.

Problems, failures and losses are bad. Solving problems is how we learn in life.  By looking at our failures, we can see what we need to change in order to do better next time.  Losses have to be considered in the context of ultimate gains or the good of the whole.  Sometimes compromise is called for.   Sometimes it’s necessary to go back to square one in order to get past a stubborn obstacle.  Sometimes what seems like a “loss” in one sense is really a “gain” when we view it from another perspective.

It matters what other people think.  It only matters what you think.  Sure, it’s nice to have the approval of others, but remember that when you give people the power to “approve” of you, you are also handing them the power to “disapprove.”  It’s better all around if you don’t give your power away.  Learn to suit yourself.

The pretty girls and the handsome guys get all the good stuff.  It may seem this way, but psychologists, doctors, and counselors often say that their patient or client lists are full of beautiful people.  If beauty or good looks solved all the problems in this world, then beautiful women and handsome men would never see therapists.  Besides, many good-looking people say that others are attracted to their looks, but never see them as the Soul they are inside.

unlearnWealth makes you powerful and important.  It can certainly buy a lot of things, including the favor of other people, but it doesn’t give you as much power as you think.  In the future, this is going to be very important, because more and more wealth is going to fewer and fewer people.   At some point “the people” will have to take back their own power to make things happen.  This isn’t a political statement.  It’s more of a social statement.

Your life will be perfect once you solve all your problems.  You may think so at first, but basically, what will happen is your life will get very, very boring and you will stop growing.  Problems are your friends, because they keep you on your toes.

Your life will be perfect once your ship comes in.  Getting everything you want isn’t going to make you happy.  Happiness doesn’t come from things outside of yourself or from other people.  It comes from within yourself.

Your past defines you.  You are the sum of your past right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change.  Your past actions do not determine your worthiness, your potential, or how loveable you are.

You should be happy all the time.  No, there are times that you will be sad, scared, worried, upset, or angry.  The point is to recognize and acknowledge your feelings, figure out why you are feeling this way, then decide what you want to do about it.  Negative feelings are signs that some sort of change has just happened, is happening now, or is about to happen.

If you work hard and quit fooling around, you will be successful.   Play is important, too.  For kids, play is actually an intense form of learning.  For everyone, play is a way to unwind and let off steam.  There should be a good balance between work and play in everyone’s life.   🙂

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