Sorry for not posting in a while but I have had a lot going on lately but now I am back into the swing of things. I moved back home, got settled in, and had some time to let the fact that my first year of college is over sink in. One year of the greatest four years of my life is over and to be totally honest it doesn’t feel like I thought it would. It feels just like any other summer break from any other year of school. However, the year that has gone by has been a major learning experience. I have been taught a lot of lesson from the greatest teacher, life.
I have learned so much from this year but I am going to narrow it down to 5 lessons that really stuck with me:
I do not know nearly as much as I think I do. In one of my classes I read part of Plato’s Apology. In the Apology Socrates says he is the wisest man because he knows that he knows nothing. If Socrates believed that he knew nothing how can we say that we know more than him, I know I do not. I am not sure if this is a general lesson for everyone but I would bet not a lot of people know more than Socrates (if you do please comment because I would love to experience your philosophical knowledge). This lesson was an important but hard one to learn. It is hard to admit to yourself that you are not the genius you think you are; however, you cannot grow unless you think you have room to grow. If you think you are perfect, why try to get better; if you think you know the answer, how are you supposed to find the right one; if you think you know it all there is no reason to try to learn more. Now that I know that I know basically nothing, I can really being to grow.
The only way to learn is to have a true sense of self-assessment. Along with knowing that we know nothing, to grow we cannot lie to ourselves. If you want to improve upon something you need to know that you can use improvement. For example, if you are a socially awkward person, like me, you cannot change that if you think you are the life of the party. I use to do something like this. I would lie to myself and say that I could be the life of the party if I tried but I just didn’t try. Now I have come to realize I am a little bit of a socially awkward person (I say a little bit because I am still in denial). To change we need to get out of denial and really assess ourselves and be honest with ourselves.
The only constant is change. In economics I learned about the effect of uncertainly on the markets. People do not like uncertainly because something bad may happen. This is why people do not like change but what we have to realize is that there is always going to be change. The world we live in is going to change, the people we interact with are going to change, and the person who we are is going to change. This is nothing to fear though because if nothing changes then things can never go from bad to good, good to great, and great to extraordinary. We cannot always control the change but we can control how we react to it and what we get out of it. If we realize that we know nothing and we are honest with ourselves; and we change with the change we can get a lot out of change and should have nothing to fear.
You cannot change a person but you can influence them. No matter how hard you try you will never change a person. If they do not see a need to change or they do not want to change you will not change them at all. Even if they do want to make a change, you cannot do it for them. However, you can influence them, in fact you are always influencing people whether you know it or not. You influence them in many ways; through your actions, the words you say to them, and the way you treat them. If you set a good example, you can make someone want to change. If your words are meaningful, they can mean the world to someone and change the way they see things. If you treat people with respect and kindness, you can make others want to do the same. However, if you do the reverse your influence can change drastically. Like my mentor always says, “we are always on stage.” People are always watching us and we are always influencing others.
Find your values and stay true to them. In the same way we are always influencing others, others are always influencing us. These can be positive or negative influences and the negative influences are the ones we need to worry about; or do we? If we figure out what our values are; integrity, honesty, morality; and stay true to them we have nothing to worry about. People may try to influence us negatively but if we know who we want to be and the image we want to portray, that will not matter. Always remember what you value and that “we are always on stage,” and stay true to yourself.
These are just some of the countless lessons I learned over the past year that I hope to continue to improve upon. Are there any important lessons that you have learned over the past year?