The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything. – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
What does that mean?
We begin our learning with the word “NO!” As young children, it is a word we hear a lot, usually for our own sake, for our safety, or the safety of others.
We start by learning what is wrong with what we are doing, and pointed in the desired direction. We learn to find out what is wrong, so that we can avoid it.
Similarly, as we grow older, we notice what we have been trained to notice. The thing that isn’t right. The thing which is different. In short, we have been trained to find fault, so that’s what we do.
Eventually, we realize that there is something useful or good in nearly everything and every situation. We may come to it by degrees, but eventually we get there. And that is what the quote is about.
Why is seeing the good in everything important?
How easy is it to be optimistic and enthusiastic when all you see are the faults of things? If everything around you is death, decay and disaster, it’s going to be hard to see the good in things, right? In order to see the good in everything, and all of the possibilities, we need a change in attitude.
As we start to look for the good in situations, we start to understand the feeling and reality of the power it brings us. Now I’m not talking about being a “Pollyanna” nor am I talking about being all “Sour Grapes” about life either. We need to see what has actually happened. For there’s a positive merit, or good, in everything.
If we ignore the bad, the faulty, we will find it hard to learn from the experience. Yet if we ignore the good, we will find it hard to move forward on our next attempt. As usual, the best path will be somewhere between these extremes. As most of us are far closer to the ‘finding fault’ side, we know which way we need to move, right?
Pollyanna played the ‘glad game’ wherein she had to find something about which to be glad, no matter what the situation. I believe that we don’t have to be glad to see that there is a positive in the outcome. I wouldn’t be the person I am except for my failed first marriage. I’m not glad about it, but there was positive merit in it.
Where can I apply this in my life?
We all have places where we have the greatest tendency to find the faults in things far more than the positive merit they may possess. I believe that the best place to start working with this quote is in those places. Where do you tend to most often see the dark cloud, and rarely see the silver lining?
If you can start the transition with the more difficult things, the rest of the things in your life should follow suit. Even a small change can be a big help over the long haul. The more time passes, the smallest changes can result in a very different path. This quote is about making the transition from learner to scholar.
Grab some paper and write down the times you seem to spend the most time finding fault. Perhaps it has to do with the behavior of a family member or other person in your social or work environments. Make the list, and see if there is a common thread. Is it people, institutions, or something else in specific, or is life just out to get you?
With that in mind, can you find an incident from the list where there was some positive merit, even if delayed or small? Search through the entire list and see if you can’t find something in each one, no matter how small, where something positive came out of it. Even if they were still a jerk, perhaps someone else learned from their example.
The prior section was about things you know and with which you have some familiarity. But now consider those things which are less of intent or plan and more by chance. How often has something unplanned turned into something good? Even, or especially, if you weren’t initially interested in it?
I don’t like parties, and hadn’t planned on going to one in particular, but did, and met my wife. Well, we were acquainted, but we spent hours talking and getting to know one another that night. And that was just the beginning. I’m not fond of parties, but this one had some positive merit.
How about a flat tire on the way to the airport? In the snow, on a busy freeway? Been there, done that. Sounds like a missed flight and all kinds of problems. Instead, we treated it like a race car pit stop, and had the tire changed in no time flat (pun intended). We chose to see it as a challenge, not a barrier. We found merit, not fault.
Life comes at us fast, and in unpredictable ways. If all we see are the faults or the unpleasant things, we will be miserable. If we can find positive merit, in some way or form, we can help keep our positive attitude in life. That, to me, is the first step from learner to scholar. Take it.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgwilhe400939.html
Photo by Martino F.
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