Yesterday afternoon, Pastor Sam Adeyemi tweeted as follows: “If you want the quality of your life to continue improving, you must never stop learning.”
Every day of our life presents us with an opportunity to learn, and that’s because learning is based on experience. You learn lessons from experience; you don’t learn experience from lessons.
When the word “learning” is mentioned, what readiness comes to mind is formal education. Yes, that’s one way of learning. It is the basic foundation for acquiring knowledge.
You also learn by means of formal training or personal development.
But learning goes beyond formal education, training, or personal development. It is a daily affair.
Life is a “school.” It teaches great lessons.
A man or woman you have known for years suddenly does something that sweeps you off your feet. That’s a lesson.
Your spouse of many years springs up a surprise that almost awards you a heart attack. That’s another lesson.
A friend disappoints you big time. You’re learning.
An employer fails you. It’s an experience.
An employee shocks you. It is a lesson.
I’m sure Pastor Adeyemi’s tweet is not just about formal training or education. We must continue to observe and learn from experiences if we are to improve the quality of our lives.
Only fools – big fools – refuse to learn.
You can learn from your own experiences, and you can also learn from other people’s experiences.
Two Yoruba proverbs delight my heart when it comes to the issue of learning. The first one says, Ina esinsin kii jo ni l’emeji. This literally means that fire doesn’t mistakenly burn someone twice. That’s factual. If you get your fingers burnt the first time, it would be stupid of you to allow the same thing to happen to you again.
The second proverb affirms that, Eni to jin si koto ko ara y’o ku l’ogbon. This, in English, means that someone who falls into a ditch serves as a lesson for others. In other words, if someone is walking ahead of you and he suddenly falls into a trench, you will definitely mark that spot and do everything possible to avoid it.
But how come people keep making the same mistakes all the time?
How come many of us don’t learn from our past experiences?
Why don’t we learn from the mistakes of others too?
A man knows that his friend has been jailed for fraud; yet he continues to do the same thing that sent his friend to prison.
Assad of Syria knows what led to Gaddafi’s downfall; yet he continues to toe the same line.
A business executive has been doing the wrong things for years; yet he refuses to change. He forgets that Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
A commercial bus driver is arrested for passing one way; yet another bus driver commits the same offence the next hour, knowing full well that his colleague has just been arrested.
A young man continues to pump dopes into his veins despite the fact that his brother is in a psychiatric home on account of drug abuse; yet he refuses to learn any lesson from that.
A lady keeps changing boyfriends like handkerchiefs due to her bad manners; yet she keeps complaining that men are not reliable.
A guy keeps losing money to 419ners; yet he continues to court swindlers.
Haba! Why do people refuse to learn?
The reasons may be many but one of them stands out: Arrogance!
It is only arrogance that can make someone stick to something that leads to destruction.
It is only arrogance that can blindfold someone from learning from his own experiences and those of others.
And it is arrogance that can make someone refuse every good advice and foolishly believe that he knows all.
Smoking may kill as health officials warn, but arrogance kills faster.
Don’t ever stop learning.