Life is the Ultimate Teacher

By Jay Forte

Few of us loved spending time in school. The homework, the studying, the tests – not high on most of our lists. But the daily lessons at school weren’t just about the subjects we were learning. School was also teaching us how to learn from the greatest teacher: life.

Life is the ultimate teacher. Day in and day out, life shares lessons with us, each of which serves as a learning event that teaches us to ask what should I do more of? And what should I not do next time?

In learning this, I believe that life sends us two things – successes and challenges.

Successes come to help us learn how to celebrate. Challenges come to teach us how to connect to larger and more significant things in us. Though the successes may feel better, the real lessons in life come from the challenges. It is as we work through those challenges that we can see life as the ultimate teacher.

So how do you learn to welcome the challenges instead of becoming resentful, aggravated, disappointed or frustrated?

  1. Understand that life is as life is. It isn’t personal when things go or don’t go your way. Life is neither good or bad – it just is. We have been told that good things happen to good people. Sure they do. And sometimes tough things happen to good people. That is how life works. It just comes at you.
  2. You add the meaning and understanding of what is happening. You choose how to be in and with each event of life. You can choose to resent or accept what happens in life. Choosing to accept or approach life’s events with a positive attitude and outlook does two things. First, it improves this moment, preventing you from seeing yourself as a victim of what is happening. When you focus on the negative, the quality of this moment diminishes. If the quality of your life is made by the quality of each moment – choose to focus on the good in each moment. Second, being upbeat opens you to use your energy to actively learn and grow. Don’t fight with the moments because the more you fight, the more they fight back. Instead, catch and release. Catch and learn from the situation, then release it to make room for more celebrations and more learning.

Life is an epic teacher. And as with teachers, though they may have things for you to learn, you choose whether to learn them. No one can make you learn from life – you have to see that by being open to life on life’s terms – to see and appreciate whatever comes your way to celebrate or learn – you become more fully engaged in life. That is, after all, what life is really about: being fully engaged in each of our moments. Anything else isn’t really living.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. Stop and notice: do you fight with life as it sends you lessons?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to be more open to life’s lessons?
  3. How can you look at each moment of life as important and essential to you discovering, developing and living the best version of you?

 

Consider reading Expect the Unexpected: What’s Your Plan B?

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2017: What Worked, What Didn’t Work?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

The end of another year has arrived. When you take the time to stop and assess 2017, what worked and what didn’t work? What does this tell you about how to proceed in 2018 to have a successful year?

When you take the time to tune in and notice what’s happening in your world, you give yourself information about your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Then, by assessing this information, you are better prepared to do more of what worked and to improve on what didn’t work.

Be aware that it’s habit to label events as good or bad, right or wrong, especially when we assess the past year. This can inhibit our ability to see the real information available to us because we get stuck in the emotions and feelings associated with each event. We lose what the event or moment can teach us.

Learning to focus on what worked and what didn’t work helps to direct your attention to productive information that you can use to better understand your world and make better decisions.

To get started, tune in to the key areas of your life, like work, relationships and finances, and create a sheet to summarize what worked and what didn’t work in each area. Ask yourself questions like:

  • In 2017, how well did I manage my money and spending?
  • In 2017, how successful were my personal relationships?
  • In 2017, how did my career progress?
  • In 2017, how well did I take care of myself / my health?
  • In 2017, what progress did I make in understanding my unique talents and abilities?

Be honest with yourself as you reflect and record your thoughts. What went according to plan, why and how can you do more of it in 2018? What didn’t go according to plan, why and how can you learn from it and improve in 2018?

Summarize what you notice without a right or wrong, good or bad judgment. Just gather information. Remember to look at life’s events as productive and unproductive. This information is like gold – it guides you in what to consider going forward.

So, as 2017 comes to an end, stop, notice and reflect on what worked and didn’t work. From that information, consider how you can do more of what worked and how you can improve or address what didn’t work. You now have a starting point to make a remarkable 2018.

Wishing you a most successful personal and professional new year.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How will you make time to review 2017 to learn from your successes and challenges?
  2. How will you stop labeling things as good or bad, and shift to what worked and what didn’t work?
  3. How will you let the information you learn about 2017 better prepare you to make wise decisions in 2018?

 

Consider reading What Will You Do To Make Your Year Amazing?

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