“What makes a student ready? What makes a student? A student is one who takes interest in a particular subject, studies and learns. Then applies what one learns.
When I was a teenager, more than anything, I wanted someone who would show me the ropes in show business. A mentor. One day, by chance, I met a man. He was successful in the movie business, he had many successful proteges, and he saw something in me. He was willing to guide me for free.
He didn’t want anything in return. Truly, nothing, other than the satisfaction of seeing me make something of myself in the business I wanted to succeed in. That alone, terrified me. I was always second guessing his motives but I told him I was willing to do anything, professionally, it took to make it. I said that again and again.
So he told me what to do. He gave me the first step. ‘Oh, you don’t understand’, I’d exclaim, ‘I can’t do that.’ I would proceed to tell him why. He’d nod understandingly and explain that I could do that or do this other thing. ‘Oh no,’ I’d say, ‘I am willing to do anything but not that’. I didn’t want those lessons or could not see the value of pursuing a particular area.
Time and time again he would make suggestions. Most I would negate. Some I would try usually abandoning whatever it was he had me doing. He never complained. He completely accepted me resisting him and never threw up his hands or told me he would not continue. Our relationship lasted a number of years.
I left him eventually to find someone who could help me make it in showbiz. So what is a student? When is the student ready? A student becomes ready when the student is teachable. I was not teachable. I knew what I needed and was willing to do and not do. To say,’Yes, but’ and ‘no, you don’t understand’ and then provide reasons are really nothing but excuses. AND, pay attention here – Excuses ARE excuses and nothing else!!
The questions one has to ask oneself is ‘how teachable am I?’ Many people answer, ‘I am willing to learn anything’, but when the rubber hits the road they actually aren’t. I wasn’t. How teachable are you? How willing are you to change? How willing are you to change what you think and what you are doing to think and do something new?
Instead of being open and flexible of mind to take in NEW information and practices many people merely defend the old. That is what I did. I had all the reasons and defenses ready for why I could not or would not do or try something. If I didn’t think it would work or see the value in it I wouldn’t allow it in. I discarded it before understanding it by experiencing it. Excuses prevent new opportunities from occurring.
You cannot describe the taste of an orange to someone who has never tasted an orange. Nor can you describe the color red to the person who has never seen color. It is the experience of using the information that can be life changing. If one is not willing to apply the knowledge in order to change and get different and better results then one will remain stuck getting the same results they hope to improve. Instead of taking responsibility and becoming aware of their resistance most will simply blame others or circumstances thus insuring they remain the same.
It is the experience of tasting the orange that makes the difference. Information does not transform us. Knowing what to do and not doing it won’t make us a success. Applying what we know IS the difference that makes the difference. In order to learn, understand and apply it we first must be open to taking it in. We must not defend ourselves. We must let go of excuses and stop resisting.
People argue that what they previously learned, understood and know to be true is different from the new information they are being asked to accept. Instead of accepting the information they defend the old. They are not very teachable in that moment. In order to be ready you need to be an open vessel. I claimed to be open but was anything but. It is easy to self-deceive.
There is the story of a Master pouring a potential disciple a cup of tea. The master pours and continues to pour until the tea overflows and continues to overflow. ‘Stop!’ cries the potential student. ‘The cup is full.’ The Master replies, ‘When your cup is full you cannot add anything to it. Your cup must be empty. Go and empty your cup.’
The point should be obvious. The master deems that the student’s mind is too filled with what they already know. It is filled with too many potential objections, beliefs and resistance to be ready to learn. The student is not ready and open so is sent away. When ready the teacher appears. I was not ready. Many times I have not been ready. Just as with gardening the soil needs to be prepared and receptive to the seeds.
We need to recognize when we are listening only to speak and present our view instead of listening to gain understanding about things we don’t know about. We need to recognize when we are closed to new ideas and unable to accept information. We need to see when we resist and stop.
The way to being a good student is to recognize when we are not ready to learn and when we are ready to learn. Awareness is the key. For most of us this is a matter of ongoing management. The door is not always open. It is open and closed and open again. Then closed, and closed, then open. We need to discover when we close the door and open it to be available to new life changing information.
If we only understand the new opportunity, the new knowledge and experience, as an addition to what we already ‘think we know’ then it is just more information. Information alone won’t change us! We have to be willing to apply it. If we don’t use it we don’t know it. I ‘knew’ what to do! I was told what to do but I didn’t apply it so I didn’t get any benefit from ‘knowing’ the right things.
It is life changing when we are open and embrace it and use it. Then information, the lessons, lead us to new ways of thinking and being. Information doesn’t change us. Knowledge doesn’t change us. Only by using the knowledge can we begin to change. It is in the application of the knowledge where we learn the lessons. It’s the experience, the attempts, the defeats, the challenges that we learn from. Experience!
Seek to be open and available without judgement or analysis. You may analyze at another time but while learning it is not the time to evaluate the merit of what you are learning. You cannot fit a square peg into a round hole. The new material won’t fit into an old, already filled, container. You don’t put new wine in old wine sacks.
You can’t defend what you already know and remain open. That is not being open. That is refusing to accept! The mind is full, it is occupied it is busy and the Master cannot add any more to it BECAUSE it IS full. Some things take a very short time to learn; minutes at most but they require an entire lifetime to master. Quick to learn and a lifetime to master is the principle. Mastery comes by successfully applying the information in multiple circumstances over a duration of time. Correct repetition breeds good habits.
Learning to be open and being willing to change can take a long time to master. It is so simple it can be difficult to grasp. Stay open, be willing. We may claim we are open many times when we are not. I certainly have! Awareness is the key to change. Many times we will fall but we need to get back up and try again. Frequently, we will close the door to change while thinking we have left it open. We need to be able to notice when we shut down and resist.
A student is humble not defiant. A student is receptive. When the student is ready the teacher appears. Who is the teacher? It could be anyone and anything. It could be a life experience. It could be a formal teacher, a book or a seminar. The teacher IS whoever presents the lessons when the learner’s mind is open to receive. You can even be your own teacher at times.
No one can provide you life changing information that will make any difference whatsoever in your life until you are open and ready to receive it. They can preach it, teach it and shout it as loud and long as forever but until you are ready to hear it and embrace it the wisdom it falls on deaf ears. You have to be open and willing. You must also be willing to take the time to master the lessons. There is no substitute.
One might as well be yelling at a bunch of insects who are marching into certain destruction. They don’t know what is ahead. They can’t see it. – AND – The insects simply don’t understand the message! They don’t get the necessity of understanding it NOW! They aren’t able yet to understand you OR that you are attempting to help them! Unless you are open and teachable no teacher can teach you. It is more accurate to state a teacher presents IT IS THE LEARNER who learns. YOU either learn or you do not!
It is totally up to each of us. It is totally up to the individual student. The responsibility is 100% the student’s to be a good student. When you are a great responsible student you can learn from any source. The source may be wonderful or hardly adequate but as an incredible learner you can learn anything from anyone!
The questions one should continually ask oneself is, ‘How teachable am I?” and ‘What can I do to remain open and easily learn?’
If you are willing to learn you must be willing to change. You can’t remain the same if you want your life to be transformed. For your life to change you must change things in your life. You must change your thoughts, feelings and behaviors to get different results. If you are not willing to learn and are unwilling to change you won’t! You must also consider, ‘What is my willingness to change?’
Mindset, attitude and beliefs, your thoughts, always precede what you do and determine the results you get. If you are not pleased with the current results you are getting you must be willing to change things for you to get the results you’d prefer to get. Doing the same thing over and over again won’t get you different better results!
It is totally, and completely up to you and no one or anything else. This is the truth each of us must face. The responsibility is 100% ours alone. So, how teachable are you? How willing to change are you? Be honest with yourself. When you are ready the teacher does appear.” Rex Sikes
Have a blessed day!
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