On Creating Your Own Guide To Being A Person

It will prove helpful when life gets tough

Image by Roshan Daryanani

Have you ever read or heard a line in a podcast that resonated on every level, only to completely forget it a few days later? There are multiple variations of this: wanting to highlight every other paragraph in a book, but failing to remember its wise words when you most need them; watching a movie that gives you goosebumps (the good kind) and then letting it slip completely out of your mind until you come across it again, a decade later.

What would happen if we each paused to take note of phrases and poems and images that felt significant to us, and gathered them together? We’d be creating our own handbook for life. A personalised manual with guidance on what’s really important to us: how to face up to challenges and make hard decisions; how to manage our emotions and our income; how to nourish our souls and live a good life — these are lessons we need to seek out and learn for ourselves.

A few years ago, after going through a period of dejection and soul-searching, I began to gather some of the wisdom from the world of self-improvement — not everything I came across, but anything that really spoke to me and that answered one of life’s big questions — how can one person make a difference in the world? What is the best way to approach your own mortality? What happens when you choose to be generous instead of unkind?

It’s worth trying this exercise yourself. Turn off Netflix for a moment — it will still be there when you’re done — and try to recall the best advice you’ve ever been given, a book that made a significant difference in your life or a film that you found yourself thinking about long after you’d left the cinema. Even better, reflect on the important events of your own life — the many problems you’ve overcome, the lessons you’ve learnt, the things and people that brought you joy. Make a note of all of these, for they may be helpful guideposts when you find yourself lost and wondering what you should do next.

Isn’t it strange that at school, we turn into experts on fractions, plant cells and major wars, but we aren’t taught the value of spending quiet time by ourselves, exploring our strengths, or listening deeply in conversation?

As a trained teacher and tutor, I spend much of my time teaching children algebra and the cell cycle. What I’d really like to instil in them is creativity, confidence, empathy and enthusiasm. The person that your education helps you become is always more valuable than the concepts it teaches you. The qualities you gain while you learn will stay with you long after you forget the date of the first manned mission to the moon.

So, if you dare, put aside your definitions of school and university, and all that you associate with them, and let life be your classroom. Decide to explore, experiment and educate yourself in the art of becoming a better human being. The curriculum is entirely up to you, and the answers are everywhere.

I’ve published a book full of ideas and resources about several of life’s big questions to accompany you on the journey. You can download it for free from here using the discount code ‘medium’.

This post and Instigators Write Publication are created through The Unmistakable Creative Listeners Tribe: a group in which smart creative gather and help each other to bring their dreams to life. To learn more, click: https://the-unmistakable-creative-podcast.mn.co/.

To read more of my articles please visit my articles page

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