Someone emailed this comment to me: “They say live and learn, but I think we should just LIVE. Learning is overrated. We would never accomplish anything.” Do you agree or disagree?

This comment gave me pause; and I could have chosen to go down a certain mental-emotional path of disagreement. But, I chose a different one because my primary focus, fun, and fulfillment is about and comes from learning. Had I chosen to criticize, argue, or judge from a position of feeling right, I wouldn’t have learned anything—which just doesn’t work for me, as it’s not my nature, my prime motivation.

This is one version of something we see all the time: differing viewpoints and approaches. My position about this is that neither of us is right or wrong, just different, individual—and that is how we are supposed to be. But, of course, that’s just my opinion and how I play in this vast playground. And, neither of us are 100 percent of what we prefer, we just lean more in that direction. You could say learners lean more toward inner experiences and experiencers toward outer. My opinion about this is we can benefit from both.

It’s also my opinion that you can’t have an experience and not be presented with information that can help you learn something from it. I believe you can choose to ignore such information, which is an individual right. You can choose, by default or deliberately, to have the same types of experiences and get similar results and choose not to look at what may be causing such repetitions, positive or negative. It all depends on whether the experiences and outcomes you have are ones you agree with, enjoy, prefer, are addicted to, habitual about, or any number of words you might insert here.

Here’s a brief thought experiment: Imagine everyone being exactly like you in every way. At first blush, you might imagine how nice it would be and how smoothly the “wheels” of life might turn as you consider your finer qualities. Now imagine those “other” qualities you also have. Remember, no one will do or offer anything different. How does your reality look and work? Is it really your Utopian dream?

There is a playground where people who believe matters are black and white vs. those who believe shades of gray, as well as black and white, exists. Both sides could debate who’s right until the “cows come home” and never move the discussion forward—because each are “correct” some of the time.

A problem is created when each side believes the other side must see the “truth.” What’s really being discussed, though, are perceptions and preferences, which means at this time, based on Earth’s population, there are around seven billion perceptions and preferences co-existing or attempting to—or not.

You could say the “truth” is that each of us is here to follow our unique path AND seek a way to do this as both individuals and members of the human race, family and friends relationships, and our communities. This is because—no matter any other thoughts about it—we need others to survive and thrive on every level.

This topic brings to mind that there are proponents of Ready, Fire, Aim and Ready, Aim, Fire approaches to life—or rather about decision-making and action-taking. There are “positives” and “negatives” in each.

Ready, Aim, Fire types are planners by nature. They take risks, but their risks are calculated, deliberate, and deliberated. They prefer to anticipate potential obstacles and/or negative results and consider them before they have a chance to happen (or get created), or at least have a contingency plan if they occur. You could say the negative in this is if they have perfectionist tendencies or self-confidence issues, they get stuck—usually by a fear-based thought or belief—in, more often than not, the Ready (planning, decision-making) stage. These individuals would benefit by using and learning from the Ready, Fire, Aim approach from time to time. This would loosen them up and get them moving because they’d learn a “mistake” or misstep can be dealt with, if one happens—and these, plus the unexpected, happen no matter how much someone plans ahead.

Ready, Fire, Aim types are action-based by nature. They aren’t afraid of taking a risk, or adjusting or fixing something if the outcome isn’t what they desire. Their desire for action creates a vast array of experiences and movement, which is what they desire more than before-and/or-after contemplation (stagnation and hesitation feels intolerable to them). You could say the negative in this is that they sometimes create extra steps or “small fires” (or large ones) that could have been prevented had they spent a little more time on the Ready step, and as they move forward, to anticipate and gauge possible (or likely) results they may not wish to experience. They could learn how to reduce or avoid some of the frustrations and disappointments they experience by seeing how they contribute to their cause.

Each can benefit from some of what the other does, but the twain shall never fully meet. Nor, in my opinion, was this designed to ever happen, specifically so that we would be compelled from need and desire to create something new (expansion and evolution) on an ongoing basis. The quote, “. . . and never the twain shall meet,” means opposites will never truly unite, which also keeps individual status in tact. But, we do share time and space, which requires co-existence. If we desire a more productive, peaceful co-existence, each of us has to decide how we can make this a constructive (learning or not) experience for ourselves and others.

So, what could we do with this? Here are two thoughts . . .

1. We could become more curious. We could ask questions with no attachment to the conversation other than to get information we didn’t have before (to expand understanding), whether or not this has anything to do with decision-making. This could satisfy experiencer and learner types without infringing on their preferences, if they will choose to set aside their preference to be right, that is.
2. We could acknowledge that no two individuals (much less even more) will ever arrive at 100 percent accord or definition about anything. We could, then, create a shared framework that allows freedom of definition about individual desires and choices, and discovery and expansion of our true natures as individuals and as participants in a shared existence. We could understand that we will compartmentalize which needs and desires belong to us as individuals and which belong to the collective. (We already do this to some extent, but would benefit by doing it with more conscious awareness.)

Mark Twain said, “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

Whether you’re an Experiencer or Learner by nature, be comfortable in your own “skin.” But, consider allowing others the same comfort—unless, of course, you prefer to experience conflict or find conflict a preferred way to learn something.

This doesn’t mean passive allowance of what doesn’t work. It does mean to seek what does work while maintaining integrity for all as individuals and participants in the bigger picture. Whether you’re primarily a learner or experiencer, improvement, harmony, and wisdom are arrived at from one method only: Practice.

You are what you practice.

Feel free to reprint this article. Just include my bio as a complete statement.

Author's Bio: 

Self-Doubters & Second-Guessers: learn to trust and follow what is natural, fulfilling, and even fun for you in life or business. Let Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business e-book or coaching program show you how. You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say ( Details, her books and e-books, and current free weekly newsletter at