You Learn By Living - Notes

Learning to learn:

Live every experience to the utmost.  Have curiosity, interest, adventure and imagination.

When someone asks why? Answer with care and respect, help them to find the answer and never dismiss the question or they may not ask again.

“Without the spirit of adventure, life can be a dull business.  With it, there is no situation, however living, physically or economically which cannot be filled to the brim with interest.”

The ability to listen – truly listen – is a rare quality.

Learn form your experiences, these lessons will always come in useful and often in the most unexpected and unforeseen ways.

Have curiosity to seek new knowledge and realise that no knowledge is terminal.

The ability to converse, communicate debate and discuss is an important part of a persons education.  A basis for going into school, business or a profession much better prepared to contribute and to absorb new information.

Develop capacity to know what you see and to understand what it means.  Question, evaluate and readjust your knowledge.

Fear – the great enemy:

Fear is the worst stumbling block to achievement.  To conquer our fears is a victory.

“Each victory, no matter how great the cost or agonising the time, there comes increased confidence and strength to help meet the next fear.  You gain strength and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

Refusing to face fears erodes confidence.

“You must do the thing that you think you cannot.”

Our doubts are traitors

And makes us lose the good we oft might win

By fearing to attempt.’

Have the self discipline to challenge yourself.

Fear often comes from ‘not knowing’ what is involved in a situation.  If we can take away the unknown and learn what a situation entails, the sooner we can dissolve fear.

Fear of capability, ‘If I cannot do it then no-one will expect me to try.’  You need to get out and try.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance incase you fail.

“Free yourself from another shackling of fear, stretch your mental muscles and gain the freedom that comes with achievement.”

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier.  We do not have to become heroes overnight.  Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes ip, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”

Uses of time:

We have all the time there is but how do we make best use of it? Achieve inner calm, concentrate on the thing in hand, have a plan but allow for the unexpected and have the energy to complete the day with good health.

Self discipline is crucial to good time management.

“Since everybody is an individual, nobody can be you.  You are unique.  No-one can tell you how to use your time.  It is yours.  Your life is your own.  You told it.  You make it.”

Don’t let the sands of time drift through your fingers.

The difficult art of maturity:

What makes us mature?

Self-knowledge and awareness – understand yourself, what makes you do and feel things?  Be truthful about what motivates you.  Self analysis takes courage, don’t fear it and understand it is not just discovering the negative. know your inner strengths so you can say ‘I can, not I can’t.’

Humility – know that little can be achieved alone.  Take praise but understand and accept your limitations, move forward.

Know the limitations of others and help them not to fail when you are able.

Don’t try to change others to fit a certain mood to suit you.  To force unwanted change on an individual is rarely successful.

Never demand what is not freely given.

Take criticism and evaluate it.  Accept the constructive points and profit from them.  Forget the destructive.

Eliminate faults that you see in yourself but are not noticed by others.

Have a strong set of life values.  “Not to drive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste.  You have missed the whole point of what life is for.”

Readjustment is endless:

Learning something new often means adjusting our whole framework of knowledge.  Don’t fear this change, learn from it and adapt.

“To be unable, because of inflexibility, to readjust to changes will result in a kind of sterility, great unhappiness, and sometimes almost a state of shock!”

Unhappiness is an inward thing, it s unlikely that circumstances alone make people truly happy.  Happiness is not a goal it is a by product.

Focus on the present as well as the future.  Don’t be so focused on the wherewithal to give you leisure in the future that you don’t make use of the leisure available to you now.

Learning to be useful:

Requirements for happiness – Being honest with yourself and those around you, feeling that you have done the best you can in your personal life and at work, the ability to love, to feel useful and needed.

Individuals have a need for identification and recognition.  To feel accepted.

Respect is often used in a subservient sense, but is a token of equality.  To respect is often more difficult than to love.

A Story of a railway platform in New York packed with commuters:  Commuters were fighting for themselves against others for space.  Suddenly a scream rings out and a girl has fallen between the train and the platform edge and is trapped by her leg.  The commuters, without words, rush forward and throw their collective weight against the train to free the girl.  After she had been freed they hurled themselves; pushing, pulling, shoving onto the train.  Every man for himself.  Yet, for a minute they had worked together for a common goal.

Right to be a individual:

It is too easy to surrender our values to conform.  Live by your values and standards, have integrity.

There is often more fear in apprehension of a situation than the reality.

Don’t correct individuality.

Ambition should be individual.  Get as much enjoyment, interest, experience and understanding our of life as you can.  Don’t simply try to be a ‘success’  or try to ‘keep up with the joneses’.

There are 2 main elements to success – developing individual potential and a contribution of some kind to the world.

Put your values into practice.

Social conformity in terms of kindness, manners and graciousness is important.

“You have not only the right to be an individual, you have the obligation to be one.  You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do.”

The workplace needs ‘dynamic conformity’, flexibility, originality and independence of thought.

How to get the best out of people:

Be an individual but work co-operatively.  Mutual respect is a basis of all civilised human relationships.

Respect for others is fundamental.

Approach new people with a spark of adventure and you will benefit from new channels of thought, experience and personality.

Be a good listener – really listen.  Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand.  Win their confidence and be aware of the extent to which your communication is succeeding.  Reach people.

Dictatorial orders may be obeyed but often with the price of resentment and loss of respect.  Obedience has its uses but is no substitute for willing, un-coerced co-operation.

It is not for us to change people’s customs and traditions, we must know them and understand them.

Facing Responsibility:

We create the person we become by our choices in life.  As an adult we are the sum total of the choices we have made and the experiences we have had.

We are responsible for the wellbeing of our communities by the choices we all make.

Freedom comes with responsibility – responsibility for our own actions and choices.

When we make a mistake, be humble, admit it, try to rectify it and gain wisdom from it.

Learn from experiences, both your own and those of others around you.

What do you believe?  do you live by these beliefs?  Do you have the courage to stand up and be counted regardless of the potential affect it may have on your standing in business or your community?

It takes courage to accept full responsibility when things go wrong.  Don’t make excuses.

There is no such thing a s a perfect choice.

What matters most is what we can and must do, not what we can’t.

“In the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than fear, to try rather than not try.  For one thing I’ve known beyond all doubt:  Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says ‘ It can’t be done’.”


(Chapter 10 – How everyone can take part in politics and Chapter 11 – Learning to be a public servant are not included in book notes)