Everyone is your teacher. Those that have excellence teach you how to become better. Those that have deficiency teach us why we need to become better. Those with happiness, peace and fulfillment teach us to live with those qualities. Those with depression, misery and bad fortune teach us to be grateful for what we already have.
A person with excellence, even if only in one area, can teach us how to adopt that excellence for ourselves. We can study and model their behaviors in that area. Moreover, simply having excellence to aspire to can allow us more room to expand. Seeing excellence gives us a new standard to stretch ourselves and gives us hope and enthusiasm that there is more room above where we currently are.
Of course, people with excellence often teach us the most obvious lessons. But if we pay attention, everyone teaches us their lesson as well.
The person with deficiency can teach us the importance (or lack of) for whatever they lack. How has the lack of excellence in this area affected this persons life. What are the consequences. How is being morbidly obese detrimental to that persons health? How does that deficiency create consequences in other areas such as business, relationships or happiness?
How about the man with no money? How has being without money negatively affected his life? Perhaps it would be wise to even look at how it has not affected his life. If the man is happy and fulfilled, perhaps his lack of emphasis on money is not actually a deficiency?
People with deficiencies teach us almost as much as those with excellence, it is just harder to see the lesson some times. It is not just the extremes in skill or abundance that teach us, however.
The person who is happy, peaceful and fulfilled teaches us many lessons as well. By looking at the happiness they have in their life we can gain insight into how we can have that happiness and peace as well. They teach us that life can be more enjoyable and satisfying than we currently feel.
The person who is unhappy, miserable and unfortunate teaches us many lessons as well. They teach us the importance of gratitude towards happiness. They make us more grateful for the what we have in life already. They also teach us that happiness is the critical part of life, without it, nothing else really matters. Their misery teaches us how to avoid it in our own life.
Still there are others that teach us.
Those who are respectful and kind towards us, teach us how to be respectful and kind to others. These people teach us the value of compassion and empathy. These people also make us believe in ourselves. More importantly, these people make us believe in society.
People like Martin Luther King Jr. teaches make us believe in the power of society to deliver compassion. A man like Mahatma Ghandi teaches us how we don’t need to destroy in order to change.
Those who are disrespectful, rude or even malicious and abusive teach us lessons as well. These people teach us the importance of kindness and caring for we can feel the result when there is a lack of it. From these people we also learn tolerance and patience. From their actions we learn vital lessons about how not to treat others based on the pain caused by the way you have been treated.
From those people we also can learn what caused their behavior. Those that act this way towards others were likely treated poorly in the first place. By avoiding treating others that way we help stop the cause of the problem. Often the people that treat us badly have the most to teach us of all, if we simply stop to learn it.
To the people that have and to those that don’t. To the people that are and to those that aren’t. To the people that are happy and to those that are miserable. To the people that are kind and to those that are hurtful.
I thank you for the lessons you have taught me.