This I Believe

Louise - Forest Hills, New York
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

The Opportunity to Learn

Each day we each are given different opportunities, situations to deal with, and problems to overcome. I believe that every day we are given a chance to learn from these opportunities, situations, and problems. After a few struggles in my life and encounters with many different people I believe I am given a chance each day to learn something new about the world and myself, if walk away from each experience saying, “what did I learn?”

I was twelve years old when my mother passed away and fortunately had three sisters and strong family to get through this hard time. Obviously there is a lot I had learned about life and myself during this hard time. The thing is that I do not think that I realized I learned them until about one year ago. I was in an interview and the fact that my mother had passed away came up, and the question that I was asked was “how did you get to this point today after losing a parent at a young age?” I had never thought about what pushed me and what I had actually learned from the situation.

After this day I thought about other experiences I had, or encounters with people and realized how much I had personally taken away from meetings with strangers, friends, work opportunities, and I had taken away a lot. It could have ranged from how to do something on the computer to a personal value.

I started to ask more questions, and really listen to others. I found that I had started to take a lot more away from each situation that I was in. I looked at previous experiences and what I had learned from them. These things I have learned were not always good things. There have been times that I have spoken with negative people and said, “I don’t want to think like that,” or “I have to remind myself not to do that.”

I just found it amazing how important trying to learn each day is. It is not boring or like sitting in a class that you do not like trying to learn, it is almost enlightening. The more opportunities I have used to my advantage the easier I found it to differentiate between the person I do and do not want to be.

I found out that although experiences may have passed me by, I was still able to learn from them. The next time you are finished talking to someone, ask yourself, “what can I take away from that conversation?” There may not be something life altering or even that important that you take away, but it could be something. I believe that people can use every day situations as opportunities to learn something about themselves, and life.