When the Student is Ready

Power of What?

When I first tried to read ‘The Power of Now’ (by Eckhart Tolle), I thought it was total rubbish. Mumbo-jumbo, psycho-babble, pseudo-spiritual fluff. I lasted maybe ten pages. When I eventually read it from front to back a few years later (with a slightly different mindset), I thought it was brilliant. Somehow, the rubbish had magically turned into treasure. Wow! How on earth did Eckhart do that?

Party Boy

For years, one of my junk-food loving, cigarette-smoking, borderline-alcoholic mates would ignore, if not resent, my well-intended encouragement for him to treat his body better. “And turn into a boring f*cker like you?” was his kind-of-tongue-in-cheek typical response. The day after his forty-first birthday Mr. Party Boy suffered a heart attack and subsequently found himself in the intensive care unit wired up like a Christmas tree. Needless to say, he was a little more interested in, and respectful of, what I had to say from that point on. In fact, he went from being not ready (to pay attention or learn) to couldn’t-be-any-more-ready in a single day.

Academic Aversion

When I finished year twelve, I couldn’t wait to leave the world of academia. Not that I was particularly academic. At eighteen, the thought of going to university and subjecting myself to another three or four years of study was about as appealing as celibacy. Fast forward seventeen years and somehow university seemed like a great idea to me. For some reason, at the age of thirty-five the prospect of becoming a full-time student just seemed right. For me. Being the owner of a successful business, some people thought I was crazy to step away from my gym (for so many hours each week) but then logic doesn’t always equal happiness does it? Returning to study in my thirties made me illogically happy.

Ready to Learn

Last week I bumped into someone that I haven’t seen for a long time. A decade maybe. It’s fair to say that last time I saw this particular guy, both he and his life, were something of a mess. Physically, professionally, financially and even emotionally, he was always something of a disaster. A likable disaster but a disaster nonetheless. Always broke. Always out of shape. Always talking but not doing. Always wasting his considerable talent. But not any more. He now looks and sounds amazing. Healthy, fit, happy and content. I was pleasantly surprised. “Wow, what happened to you?” I asked. “I finally got my shit together” was his honest response. “I paid attention to what my life was telling me. When I turned thirty something happened and the thought of being in the same situation at forty terrified me. It was like I got yanked into reality and I was actually ready to learn.”

Information Vs. Application

Over the years I’ve come to understand that, in most cases, the likelihood of a person transforming their life (or part thereof) has almost nothing to do with the lessons on offer and everything to do with the ready-ness of the student.

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