I remember I used to read about great people who would accomplish incredible things, people who were affirming that they did not understand where their power, talent and inspiration came from, and I remember how I used to say to myself: “What is this nonsense? What does that even mean? How can they say that they don’t understand where that comes from?! From them!!! They are the ones doing all the work, so they are the ones who need to take credit for it. Why say that you don’t understand? What is it to understand? These people are crazy!”
Silly me. We live and we learn but unfortunately not everybody thinks this way. I am not saying that how I think is the best way of thinking. What I’m saying is that is better to have an open mind and allow new ideas, new things, new situations and new people to enter in your life, for that’s the only way you can learn new things. I know so many people who, the moment they see something or someone that is different from them, or if they see something they can’t understand, they reject it right away. What is this? And we say that humans are the highly evolved specie… How can you reject something you don’t even know anything about? Imagine what would happen if you take your child to school and the moment his teacher is trying to teach him something new like, let’s say… how to write, and he starts running out of that classroom back to his mommy. Wouldn’t that be something? But I guess children are wiser than the adults, and maybe it’s true what Einstein said that: “Everybody is born a genius, it’s just that society de-geniuses us.”
I don’t understand why so many people think that there is an end to learning.
I remember I was sitting on my sofa, studying, and we had our relatives over to our house, and when one of them she saw me with all those books that were in front of me, she replied: “Oh my God. Aren’t you tired of all that studying? When is that going to end? You poor thing.” I started laughing. She saw it as a burden and I saw it and still do, as a way of life. I love to read and I love to learn new things, things that really interest me, things that make me change the way I look at myself and the whole world. I am more tolerant now and I don’t reject something that comes my way just because it’s different or simply because I don’t understand it, on the contrary. We live and we learn and the more we learn, the better we will live.
If you really want to grow, if you really want to make a change and if you really want to be the best you can be at whatever it is that you want to do and become a fully- functioning person, you need to keep in mind that staying in your comfort zone, afraid of trying new things and taking new risks, won’t take you you there, ever! You will never become a highly functioning person that way.
For example, Carl Rogers, who was an influential American psychologist and one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology, described a healthy and fully- functioning person as having the following qualities:
1. Openness to experience which is the opposite of defensiveness but rather the accurate perception of one’s experiences in the world, including one’s feelings and accepting reality as it is, and also accepting your feelings. It’s just what Carl Jung was talking about: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” And that is why we need to stop resisting what is and accept things as they are. Embrace reality and embrace your feelings without repressing them, because if if you don’t, if you aren’t able to do this, you will not be able to become a highly functioning and self actualized person.
2. Living in the here-and-now, learning to be present, which I believe is a crucial thing, not only for those who want to become self actualized, but for each and every one of us. I love what Eckhart Tolle says about living in the present moment. Just listen to this: “Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are cause by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” If you think about it, it’s no rocket science, you don’t have to go to Princeton or Harvard in order for you to learn this. Each and every one of us can do this. I remember how I used to worry so much about what the future might bring and regretting the past, not realizing that I was in fact hurting myself and I was also wasting my life. It may take some time if you are a habitual worrier, but trust me, it’s not impossible, and as you get better and better at it, you will realize how much your life will be simplified.
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Henry David Thoreau
3. Organismic trusting, and we do this by trusting our inner self, our heart and intuition, our true nature and not the neurotic self that many of us identify with and by doing this things will come naturally, effortlessly. We have forgotten our true nature, our identity, and it’s no wonder that there is so much anxiety, pain and suffering in the world. The moment we realize who we are and where we came from, we will become tolerant, loving and kind, with ourselves, the people around us and our dear Mother Nature, because by doing this, not only will you heal yourself, but you will also heal the whole planet and all the people that live on this Earth.
“If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows. Fish don’t try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don’t try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don’t try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature. The earth doesn’t try to spin on its own axis; it is the nature of the earth to spin with dizzying speed and to hurtle through space. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. It is the nature of the sun to shine. It is the nature of the stars to glitter and sparkle. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.” Deepak Chopra
4. Freedom, freedom to choose the life we want to live, the things we want to do, the people we want to spend our time with, the work we want to do, the freedom to listen to our heart, the freedom to make our dreams come true. If you ask me, we have become the prisoners of our own mind, and no matter how free we say we are on the outside, on the inside we are the slaves of our negative and polluted thinking, the slaves of our past conditioning an limiting beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we are doomed and that’s all there is to us and that we can no longer do anything about it. It’s only up to us whether we want to change our lives or not, whether we want to be slaves or free as the wind.
5. Creativity, the moment you realize that you are free and the one who is responsible for your life, you will do whether you can in order to make a change, in order to create something that will last long after you’re gone. A fully- functioning person knows that they are here on this planet to create something bigger, bigger than themselves, and even though for many of us these things will seem impossible, they will do whatever they can in order to make that possible, to make their dreams become reality, helping the world and themselves.
No matter what your job may be, no matter if you are the CEO of a Multi National Company or a mechanic, you can make a difference, we all can, and you will be able to accomplish this by doing that which you really love and loving that which you do, because when you do what you love, you will be the best at your job and believe me, success will follow.
As you can see, you don’t need a diploma, you don’t need to take any classes or go to a fancy university in order to know that having an open mind will get you far, that living in the present moment will release you from all the tension and anxiety that is present in your life; that trusting your intuition will help you live your life on purpose, giving you the freedom you need in order to pursue the life you want and go after your dreams, dreams that will help put your creativity to work in order for you to create whatever it is that you want.