“A well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers.” Helen Keller
The art of living is long but life is short. This is the conundrum of life, the art of figuring things out. The art of a good life takes a long time to figure out and then you die. So the best advice to achieve more in this short life is to learn and listen very closely to people who’ve been there and extend from there. Warren Buffet says, “Humans only learn from mistakes, but there’s no rule they have to be our own.” Great life is about shortening the learning curve – learning from smart and wise people that have gone before you, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. To become more and achieve more quickly, avoid repeating the same mistakes others have made by learning from them. Save time and unnecessary pain by learning from the pain of others as much as possible, this is wisdom.
I see life in two parts, one is about making a living and the second is about living your making. Making a living is about doing whatever you need to do (in a legal way) in order to survive, take care yourself and your loved ones. This is the basic one. The second one is doing what you were created to do. This is doing something that sparks your light and that naturally comes to you. For me, Veli Ndaba, it’s writing, speaking and coaching. So, the purpose and meaning of life is to make a living by living your making. This simply means getting paid to take care of your personal needs, your loved ones and beyond by using your gifts, doing what you are naturally adapted by nature. The art of living is deliberately and intentionally studying, observing yourself and figuring out your natural strengths and passions because these are linked to what you are meant to do in life. This unfortunately is not included in our school curriculum. Our school curriculum is mainly about creating robots out of us for survival. For the most part, it’s about memorizing facts to pass exams and get a piece of paper to show that you are educated.
I felt so sad in the past week when my new client’s executives asked me, “So, Mr Ndaba, what models do you use for change management?” Obviously I was expected to say that I use some of the following 5 most popular change management models: Kotter’s Change Management Model; McKinsey 7-S Change Management Model; ADKAR Change Management Model; Kübler-Ross Five Stage Change Management Model; Lewin’s Change Management Model. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with models, but some people are stuck in these models without even questioning certain things about them. For these people, these models are everything, they never sparked the desire to learn more about what really brings about change. Is it what we academically know or how we feel at an emotional level about what we know? There’s academic/intellectual understanding, emotional understanding and identity which is at a DNA level. Education is mainly about cognition or activating intellectual understanding, but change, I mean sustainable change, happens at much deeper levels than that and that’s what most of these models lack. This is conformity bias.
Education would be much more effective if its purpose is to increase your curiosity and ensure that by the time you leave the classroom, you know how much you do not know and be inspired with a life-long desire to know it. Education shouldn’t be about swallowing whole whatever you are taught, it should spark some curiosity, desire and hunger to question and go beyond that which is taught instead of getting programmed to a robot. As a life coach, speaker and author, I often come across people who say, “I acquired that qualification or piece of paper (certificate, diploma or degree) but it didn’t do anything for me! I feel like I wasted my time and energy!” I’m certain you’ve also heard someone saying these words. This is an unfortunate part, the lack of understanding of what real education should all be about, sparking the desire and hunger to discover more rather just as a means for getting a job or a promotion. Always keep in mind that you were created by the creator to create.
The art of living is about realizing that your life is not just about being successful in the world, making a mark or have a legacy, but that it’s mainly about fulfilling the highest, truest expression of yourself as a human being. It’s not just about acquiring material things or positions of power. When you fulfil your truest expression of yourself, acceptable doesn’t get in the way of exceptional! This is the art of living. Real education doesn’t happen in the classroom but outside the classroom.
“To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all.” – Mark Sullivan
The curiosity, hunger and the sparking for more happens where you are in flow in your lane doing what you are meant to do. This is what I call living your making, not just making a living. True education should be about connecting you to the highest that’s lying dormant within yourself and that only happens outside of the classroom. Yes, a well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers.
Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of four books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON! And Set Your Soul On Fire!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org, www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773