Stretch Your Thinking

Our inspiration for today comes from Confucius, the Chinese philosopher who lived between 551 BCE – 479 BCE.

“Even when walking in the company of two other men, I am bound to be able to learn from them. The good points of the one I copy; the bad points of the other I correct in myself.”

According to Confucius, it is important for us to stretch our thinking. When we do, we learn.

If one learns from others but does not think, one will be continually confused.

If one thinks but refuses to learn from others, then one will remain narrow-minded and in ignorance.

But if we open ourselves to what others have to teach us, we become more well-rounded in our thinking. Some teachings will resonate with us; some may not. Some we will want to apply to our lives; some we won’t. Either way, whether we agree or disagree, we are to respect the process and one another.

Learning can happen in any moment from any source. For Confucius, learning occurs “even when walking in the company of two other men.” Whatever is present in our reality at that particular moment can serve as a teacher when we open ourselves up to the experience.

Learning doesn’t have to take place in a formal setting like a school or a university; it can happen in the most common of places. Teaching doesn’t have to come from professors; it can come from the common man, woman, child, animal, place, or thing.

When we choose to become students in the open classroom of life, we find ourselves “bound to be able to learn” from life’s teachers, whoever and whatever those teachers may be. Our learning will be much more meaningful when we acknowledge that life sends many kinds of teachers.

Our teachers ultimately lead us to ourselves. They reflect who we are. When we see the “good points,” we will want to emulate them, copying them into the script of our lives. However, when we see the “bad points,” we are to “correct them” within ourselves.  We don’t necessarily erase them from our lives, but we work to transform them as part of our learning.

If we are to learn anything, we must be in a state of readiness.

As the adage goes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.

8 thoughts on “Stretch Your Thinking

  1. Suzy

    My son would clap his hands in glee and tell me – see I told you so. He’s all for out of the classroom learning and he thinks (rightly so) that academic classroom learning is so restrictive. Loved the quote. As always another absolutely super post. 🙂
    Suzy recently posted…The Love With Which It’s GivenMy Profile

    Reply
    1. mcdaniel1 Post author

      Hi Suzy…your son would enjoy Walt Whitman’s poem “When I Heard the Learned Astronomer.” That poem will definitely resonate with him. It is one of my favorite poems by Whitman.

      I was a classroom teacher for years, and those four walls always made me feel restricted in what I could do or not do. Many times I would take classes outside to change up the environment.

      Thanks so much for dropping in!
      Blessings.
      Penny

      Reply
  2. Gena Livings

    Very true. We are all the same Source, giving-receiving-believing… By opening to each other, we are in-fact opening to ourselves. Our ‘Source” is within the One body.
    Healthy blessings,
    Gena

    Reply
    1. Penny McDaniel Post author

      Hi Gena!

      There’s so much to learn from one another, isn’t there?

      I’ll always be a life-long learner. Here’s to the process!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Blessings.
      Penny

      Reply
  3. Andrea

    So true! We are learning from each other as we go along in life. We just need to choose to see it or not. I love this quote. Emulate what you like in others, correct what you don’t within yourself. In other words don’t try and change the other person, change yourself. We are all teachers just by the way we live our lives. Love it!

    Reply
    1. Penny McDaniel Post author

      Hi Andrea!

      Indeed, we are always learning from one another. We can choose what works for us to change us into better people. Trying to change someone else will only bring suffering. When we change ourselves, everything around us changes. Reminds me of Wayne Dyer’s quote: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” How apropos.

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing 🙂
      Blessings.
      Penny

      Reply
    1. Penny McDaniel Post author

      Hi Sophie.

      Yes, classroom learning is effective, but as you said, there is too much focus on it at times. I was a classroom teacher for years and found it stifling to be surrounded by 4 walls. Students need to move beyond those classroom walls to experience things. Getting them into other environments allows their creativity to come through and their imaginations to begin working in different ways.

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing.
      Blessings.
      Penny

      Reply

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