All of us have attended school. Our teachers have spent years explaining to us how things work. What their logic is. Why things work the way they do.
When we finish school, we begin to learn through experience. No one is there to tell us how things work or what logic is best suited to “pushing forward”. In school, we get wrong answers on a test. After school ends, we get poor or disappointing outcomes. (We definitely make our share of mistakes.)
As we journey through life, we sometimes seek answers, or seek help or more knowledge. Sometimes, we choose to simply ignore what we hear as “noise”. When we do take interest in what we are told, there is no guarantee that anything we hear is completely “right” or will perfectly fit our unique situation.
What I find fascinating is that we all have the ability to hear what others say. From the first day our parents tried to teach us how to speak through this very day. What begins to separate us towards greater understanding is when we choose to learn more about what we are told. It only happens when we are interested. When we are focused. When we care.
Learning is never sufficient, though, to achieve better outcomes. For many times we hear, we think we learn, but yet do not understand what we are told. Sometimes we rush to indiscriminately apply what we heard. We never stop to think if what we are told will fit our context and our lives.
Learning can never be forced upon us. Sometimes we are told something over and over again but fail to understand why it is told to us repeatedly. We may not know the importance of what is being said. Our innocence or ignorance may keep us from wanting to understand what we hear. Sometimes our hope blinds us to better understanding what we are faced with. We must first be willing to learn before any learning can take place.
Understanding is so difficult. Most times it does not come easily. It rarely appears without practice and repetition. There is an aspect of understanding that needs “a perspective” that can place what he heard and learned into the context of our lives together wrapped in our goals.
This process of hearing, than learning, and then understanding is different for each of us. All of us hear things so step one rarely fails. Not all of us learn at the same rate. I find that people who ask questions “around” what they hear are actively trying to learn more about what they heard and were told.
Our humanity gets in the way of the last step, understanding. How much do we use of what we heard? What is our emotional state when we are trying to learn about something and then decide the next “course of action”? Are we at a stage where we finally begin to accept what we hear as helpful, truthful, and possible?
Our ego sometimes destroys our ability to see clearly our weakness and why the information we hear (and maybe learn), while different than how we think or different than how we believe, can help us move forward if we can just understand its value.
The time it takes from hearing something to better learning it to finally understanding its value should not be a source of frustration for us for again it confirms our being human. The time it takes to go through these steps varies for each of us and the issues we face.
What should frustrate us is when we become too impatient with this process. Both when we see it in others as well as when we “feel it” within ourselves that what we hear or are told, many times, does not easily become understood.