Not for the book he wrote nor for the movie it inspired. It was through something eles that Jim Stovall helped drape language over this second quest on which I’m embarked.
My first quest was one to find a sense of alignment, of balance & equanimity. A quest to find my own true self, buried under layers of distraction, misunderstood messages & misguidance.
When I started, at 24, my goal was to empower my inner swan to dive down down down through the depths of a pond to the very bottom, to connect with its riches & discover my basic self, then return safely to the surface (no small task, given a swan’t buoyancy). When that quest came to a close in July, the image my 65-year old self held was more of a beautiful stool made of precious wood – mahogany or cherry – painted over many times, frequently with beautiful touches, that’s been stripped down & restored to its original appearance.
By the end of this past summer, it was clear the first quest was finally over -and- that I’d struck out on a new – – but what it was, where it was meant to lead, was outside my ken.
Until reading Jim Stovall’s portion of The Art of Learning. Ray Hull co-authored & contributed wonderful chapters, but Jim’s chapters hit home. Especially Chapter Seven – Living to Learn:
“The highest utilization of learning is to apply knowledge & wisdom in our lives in productive ways.” Amen & hallelujah! The goal of learning is its application, not accumulation. Revolutionary thought!
“Productivity is the pursuit of creating more efficiency & results in all that we do…”
“If we are going to understand & apply our learning in productive ways that will make a true difference, we must master motivation, communication, and implementation.”
“All learning is valid & legitimate, but some learning is more productive given that we all have individual goals, dreams, and aspirations.”
Just because I can memorize information & repeat it doesn’t really mean that I’ve really learned it.
“In order to determine what type of learning is most productive (for us), we must understand where we are trying to go & what goals we want to reach.”
“Motivation is the key to learning, and learning is the key to staying motivated.”
“Collaboration is (a) key to success.”
“Just because something motivates me, it doesn’t mean that it motivates anyone else.”
“Assuming you understand other people without taking the time and effort to learn about them is a form of prejudice. Prejudice is a lazy exercise.”
“Be careful what we learn & who we learn it from.”
“The Internet is an amazing learning & communication tool, but we must be able to discern the validity & accuracy of what we are learning.”
“People communicate most effectively in different ways. The best communication is two-way communication – open, consistent, free-flowing.”
Jim tells the story about a resort hotel where he stayed frequently; they realized that since Jim is blind, a flashing light on his phone wouldn’t alert him to messages – so they wrote the messages out on paper & slipped them under his door. It showed while they realized he needed a solution to a basic problem, their response wasn’t a helpful answer!
Never assume that the person you’re talking to has correctly processed your intended message. “The most powerful message you can ask is, ‘What do you understand?”
“Unless we apply that which we learned in the real world, we can never make the impact that we are intended to make throughout our lives.”
“Implementing, sharing & teaching that which we have learned does not diminish us.”
“If you share information, knowledge, or wisdom with others, they will have more, and you will find yourself elevated in every way.”
“Constantly revisit the books and other learning resources that have impacted you the most. No matter how many times you have reviewed a great book, you will find hidden treasures when you read it again.”
“Memory is like a muscle. You either use it or lose it.”
“People in their 80s, 90s, or even over 100 who continue to learn stay vital, alert, and relevant.”
“Those people who stop learning and pursuing knowledge begin to waste away both mentally and physically.”
“(Anything) can be valid learning tools at the right time and in the right proportion.”
Jim Stovall co-founded the Narrative Television Network, designed for people with vision impairments with popular with sighted people, too!
Hot off the presses! Jim Stovall teamed up with psychologist Ray Hull to co-author The Art of Learning, an easy read that packs a hefty punch of insight & inspiration.
Truth be told, a shocking number of us were taught WHAT to learn, but not HOW. And the unlucky few, like myself, were taught – outside of school – the REVERSE of how to learn. Which was why I ordered this gem in the first place. I’m 65, have read stacks of books & articles et al on personal growth, but recognize my lack of the greatest skill any teacher pr parent can give a child – basic learning mechanics & tools.
The Art of Learning & Self-Development: Your Competitive Edge is an excellent book for any lifelong learner, perhaps especially for olders like myself, who might never soaked in the right training as a younger OR has forgotten home truths that apply to ALL ages, stages. What better Christmas gift than a key to an ever more fabulous future!
What’s a personal best Christmas memory – from the past five years. Mine would be that happened week after week, year after year, throughout December ~ ~ taking a beloved client with enough dementia to not remember seeing the over-the-top houses on Terwood, Springdale, Grenoble, Manor & others I can’t recall to see their GAUDY splendor. She reveled in the sheer extravagance of each Christmas light clogged property.
She left us this past January, with flights of angels reuniting her with her much missed O Best Beloved, and we are both missing & rejoicing for her.
Journal it, share it with friends and/or family, or just take a moment to remember.
Oh my gosh – the current John Lewis Christmas ad was available on 11/10! Sorry to be sharing so late, but it is another winner. Not available directly on YouTube, but you can see it through the link in The Guardian’s article or through this link following link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/10/john-lewis-christmas-ad-2017-meet-moz-the-monster-under-the-bed
One of the many whacky things that’s held me back throughout my life happens along with any monumental shift for the better – the Basement Boys respond set about to destabilize my foundation. Am looking back at November in horror at the flock of core things ignored, left unattended. The Boys hate well-grounded, wise forward motion & are known to do all they can to take progress off track.
That’s ok, Boys – can see your crafty hand at work. Yeah, there were a lot of ways you blew November for me, but not as many as before & realized it a lot faster. No time to dwell on it – getting in a dither over your nasty work only kept me off track.
See ya & ta ta! Back to the rituals & techniques, schedules & daily calendaring that reset me on the current path forward!
Let me back up, to mention the books that came before Rabbi Cohen’s wondrous read.
Had the AMAZING experience of reading Ron Culberson’s surprising Do It Well. Make It Fun. ~ surprising, because it turned out to be the last book of what I’d assumed would be an endless quest. The messages it held wrapped up the core lessons learned along the way in beautiful boxes, beribboned with gorgeous bows. It was a remarkable, unexpected experience – feeling 41+ years for searching drawn to what I never expected: a clear ending point.
Mel Robbins‘ 5-Second Rule came next, the first post-quest books, which built on what I’ve learned from Mel’s shake & wake videos. (What will I quest for next?) Mel’s 5 4 3 2 1 technique is simple & simply life altering.
Am in the middle of James Hillman‘s excellent The Force of Character, set aside when Rabbi Cohen’s book arrived. The sub-title is what grabbed me – creating a life of legacy, not leaving one. Being one, right now.
Much of what Rabbi Cohen writes speaks straight to the heart of what drives me – helping all ages live a life of purpose meaning worth. His book contains so many nuggets that I look forward to fashioning into something wonderful to use with all ages, while giving special attention to those that speak directly to oldsters elders ancients.
We want more out of life.
We all possess a deep-rooted desire for a life of purpose.
You’re blessed with inherent gifts, and your life is trademarked. There is only one you.
The time is short; the task is abundant.
Four lines that speak directly to the reality of olders, the reality our mothers lived every day of their lives. The reality we’ve seen in our clients, in the lives of many of our older friends & pleasant acquaintances right here in my little hometown.
Sadly, it is rare in the lives of too many older people, people who need their sense of purpose restored, their feelings of personal worth renewed. Rabbi Cohen is clearly an exceptional ally in that quest, helping us understand & embrace that purpose is the ageless reason for our existence, to live fully in this day without glances back to yesterday’s regrets or projecting our energies onto tomorrow’s promises.
Stopped, totally still, reading, “Are you living out your higher purpose or allowing each day to blur into the next?” So many of the people I see at every manner of senior residences describe their days as blurring, bleeding into the next until time no longer seems to exist, just a long fuzz. John & I are over-the-moon with the strategies that Rabbi Cohen shares to help us help them rediscovering a sense of purpose, reconnect with their worth – to turn fuzz into FIZZ!
What Will They Say About You When You’re Gone is a blend of Rabbi Cohen’s personal experience & stories, insights from the famous & the utterly unknown. It’s deceptively simple, down to earth & heart inspiring. It sends its value soaring by including work pages!
This blog is called All Ages, All Stages because we – especially I – work right across the age spectrum. My clients have been as young as 18 months & as old as 95, from bright young things to olders facing dementia; we are the first to admit our work with oldsters elders ancients most grabs our hearts.
It can be daunting to be 70+, of sound mind & body – there’s an abundance of resources for those olders grappling with physical & mental challenges of aging, but precious little for those in relatively fine fettle who find themselves in a new stage of life with precious little training, leaving them to see the unknown as filled with hobgoblins rather than as a culmination, a capstone, a long final bow.
Rabbi Cohen has written a book that’s for all ages, all stages, that appeals to people of any faith, or no faith at all. Personally, John & I hope to convince our weekly spiritual growth discussion circle to use this as a basis for a six-week read ponder share. We sense our shoulders tapped by the Divine to spark conversations on what it is to be alive, at any age; what it is to have a body that does less yet is teamed with a mind that understands deeper; what it is to to know our core values & live from them – and respect that others are doing the same.
What Will They Say About You When You’re Gone? is a great start to that & to so many other conversations, with others, within community, with just our self.