The School of Life
My boss had a brilliant thought the other day. During a meeting, he grabbed a marker and wrote the most elaborate schema on the board, explaining it, and nailing his point. While he put down the marker, he said: Now, this is the result of lying awake in the middle of the night. What he had done was he had written down his midnight ruminations. I thought about this. How often do I lie awake at night and have interesting thoughts and inspiration, but I don’t write it down? I usually think by myself… Well, I’ll probably remember this thought tomorrow. Usually, I don’t. And I have missed some insight.
My point is that being a student of life is like being a student in a classroom. We treat life as a teacher and we learn to live very intentionally.
Keep a notebook
So here is my first tip for being a student of life: keep a notebook, just like you were a student in school. When you keep a notebook, you write by hand, and everything handwritten, you remember better. But keeping a notebook also helps you to retain these insights that you have during the day. Insights that may be brilliant but that we do not retain.
2. Be mindful
Now that you have your notebook, the second tip is mindfulness. Mindfulness means that we live in the moment and that we are very intentionally observing life right in the moment as it comes. Jesus was very mindful. In Matthew 6, you see that Jesus, walking around, observed what he saw and constantly drew lessons from what he saw around. For example, he said:
Look at the birds in the air… look at the lilies in the field… do you see these people praying?... don’t do that… but do do this!
Jesus took time, he wandered, and looked, learned, and taught.
The third tip is meditation. It happens so often that I am touched by something in the Bible, but if you ask me 4 hours later, I have forgotten what I read, have not implemented it, and have certainly not changed from it. Meditation means that you take the thought with you during the day, and you dwell on it.
Think about what you want to retain today. The news headlines? Or do you want to retain thoughts about God’s beauty and his hand in nature? Meditate on what you want to remember truly. Jesus says: where your treasure is, your heart will be. You can turn that around and say: where your heart is, your treasure will be.
Being a student of life helps us live intentionally and retain the best insights that God and others give us during the day. It will lead to a life of wisdom. So grab a notebook, make time to wander, go someplace, look around you, learn from everything you see, write it down, and be changed by it.