Such an amazing way to look at life: “Your enemy can be your best teacher” Dalai Lama. Perhaps we don’t have any enemies, just teachers! – Tony Robbins
What does that mean?
This is a popular paraphrasing of a Dalai Lama quote. The actual quote is: “In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.”
While I appreciate the broader application of the quote, let’s start with the base quote. To practice tolerance, one needs something against which to test oneself, right?
Can you test your tolerance doing things which do not annoy or irritate you? Can you practice being tolerant with people who are nice to you? In my opinion, the answer to both is a resounding “No.”
If you want to test yourself and your ability to be tolerant, you need an opponent, an antagonist, or, if you prefer, an enemy. You need someone who will truly test your abilities and sincerity.
Why is learning from experience important?
Someone tests your tolerance, your patience, or your ability to remain calm. You have some kind of result. Perhaps you did well, perhaps not. What is important is that you learn from that experience, and come up with a way to do better next time.
In this way, your opponents, antagonists or enemies are teaching you. From them, you are learning about your strengths and where you need to improve. Or at least you can learn, if you pay attention, and are determined to do better next time.
But isn’t that is the point of life? To learn and get better at things? Learning from experience is how we minimize pain and maximize pleasure, right? If we don’t learn from the experience, we just keep doing the same things over and over, and keep getting the same results.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like making the same mistakes over and over. There are far too many ways to mess up to ever try all the good ones if you keep repeating the same ones over and over. I say that in a half-serious manner.
I don’t like messing up the same way, because that tells me that I didn’t learn much from the last time. That bugs me, because I like to think that I am pretty good at learning things, and learning from my experiences. And that is also a way of learning from an experience, right?
Take a moment and consider patterns in your life. Let’s start with the quote, and consider how you react to people who test your tolerance, your ability to remain calm, or to stay focused. While the tests may be rather different, are there patterns?
Please consider both the good results, as well as the results which are a little bit (or a lot) less than good. Is there a particular person who just seems to find a way past your best attempts? Is there a particular taunt or set of words that hit particularly hard?
What can you do to learn from these patterns, or absent a discernible pattern, a particular incident? What could you have done differently which might have made that situation better? What can you do next time, in an effort to better show your tolerance? Take a few moments to think about it.
In what other ways or in what other aspects of your life do you have a less-than-friendly teacher? Take a moment and consider how your life might be better if you learned from those experiences. What do you think you could have done better, and how will you handle the situation next time?
We all have people in our lives who can be challenging. I take that as a good sign, as it reminds me that I still have some growing to do. These people help us learn about ourselves, and of what we are made. Yet we rarely remember to thank them for their efforts.
Who knows, it might start a very interesting conversation if you were to thank someone who tested you. It might take a little time to explain, but you could end up completely changing the relationship. And then again, you might not, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
I try to learn from each experience. Sometimes I don’t learn the correct lesson, and get the same result over again. I can learn from that as well. How about you? What will you learn from your next ‘experience’ with an opponent, an antagonist, or even an enemy?
From: Twitter, @tonyrobbins
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/dalailama158918.html
Photo by Rob Lee