01/06/2014 12:11 EST | Updated 03/07/2014 05:59 EST

What I Learned This Week: Learning Is A Gift, Not A Given

I've drawn a blank.

A big, honking, vacuous one.

Over the past week, for the first time in years, I didn't learn anything new.


This is no big deal to most, but when one writes a long-standing weekly blog on the subject, and is usually drowning in a backlog of lessons learned, the lack of a new one in a bone-dry reservoir is an event nothing less than traumatic.

Perhaps it's a consequence of the year-end downtime foisted upon me, but trust me, the drawn blank is certainly not for want of trying. For the past seven days I searched, I read, I contemplated, I observed, I kept my eyes, ears and mind wide open.

Didn't do any good.

Came up empty handed, and empty headed.

At first, this dry spell stressed me out. Didn't know how to handle it, and how I would ultimately deal with it.

Then I remembered, and heeded, some of my own advice, namely that solutions to problems tend to surface when you stop explicitly searching for them. So I surrendered myself to fate, stopped looking...and started waiting.

And continued waiting.

And still nothing.

Nothing...except that void.

Scientists will tell you that nature abhors a vacuum. Must admit that I never fully appreciated that concept until this week.

And here's what I realized when I did:



True learning doesn't come easy. And it shouldn't be taken for granted...which perhaps I've been doing for the past few years, as I've enjoyed a seemingly endless flow of lessons.

Learning can't be forced, like the obligatory sense of "fun" one is required to feel at a New Year's Eve party.

Mere actions taken may not be the proper catalysts.

  • Reading is not enough; words can pass through your head like water through a sieve.
  • Listening is not enough; you may just hear noise, or nothing at all.
  • Looking is not enough; you can gaze everywhere but still not see anything.

You may seek it, but true learning chooses to find you.

And when it does, you'd better be ready to recognize and embrace it.

Aw jeez...I think I may have actually just learned something.