Your Unexpected Best Teachers
Since she was a young girl, the freshman dreamed of becoming a writer. She eagerly signed up for an introductory English literature class, and felt her successful future was assured with the guidance of this particular instructor. Early in the semester, however, that enthusiastic anticipation changed gears.
“The professor was downright cruel,” she recalls. “He ridiculed students for their physical appearance, even singling out those who suffered from acne or physical handicaps. When he acknowledged a student who obviously had financial challenges, he called her, ‘The girl with the ratty sweater.’ His class was torture.”
But instead of squashing the aspiring writer’s dreams, the bad professor‘s uncouth and inappropriate demeanor had the opposite effect. The young woman vowed that with or without his support, she was going to follow her passion. Now, decades later, the woman is a published author, and has traveled the world as a literary agent for other writers, including such luminaries as John Grisham and Ann Rice.
It frequently happens that the most challenging people and issues in our life can turn out to be our most effective and transformational teachers.
When everything is going smoothly, it’s too easy to fall into a comfortable rut. We can pretty much put our life on autopilot, and mindlessly just tick off the days. There’s even scientific evidence of this – repetitive thoughts and actions actually create little grooves in our brain so we’re less likely to deviate from what’s become the ‘norm.’ Our ability to create, innovate and even learn new things is compromised.
It’s when things start to get tough that our brains “light up” again. We’re forced to think and act outside those groves, charting new neural pathways and creating new thoughts that bring us back into balance with our true self, our values, and our spiritual path.
In his ground-breaking book, The Biology of Belief , cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD, shares how his research showed when our environment changes, through something like the loss of a job, or falling in love, we actually begin to change our brain. We’re forced to go outside of our comfort zone, and start to see our world differently. We create new solutions, more effective processes, or deeper relationships.
Possibilities and opportunities we might never have imagined present themselves, and from our new perspective of shifting old beliefs, we can empower ourselves beyond our wildest dreams. All we need to do is embrace challenges as they appear, and realize anything and everything can teach us the critical lessons we most need to learn.
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