Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rousseau: Life to the Fullest

Understanding the education is preparation for life, we can now figure out how to embrace that life. Sometimes it can be very difficult to create an approach to life that allows you to embrace the moment. Hearing peers anxiously talk about grad school in their freshman years or professors drone on about the impenetrability of academia can make it seem like life takes place in stretches of decades rather than days. But your life is made of days!

Fortunately, there are great minds who have already written about the focus on the day to day life, and the benefits to embracing daily joy. Let's look at a quote from Rousseau, on of the great thinkers from the 18th century. His writings on education will help us to better understand what an effect positivity can have on us, as we approach our life and our education. 

Read more for wisdom on embracing your day!

You can read the first part at Rousseau: Education to the Fullest.

Let's continue with the Rousseau quote and finding a way to embrace the day to day.

The Quote

"We think only of preserving his life and limb. It is not enough; he ought to be taught how to preserve them himself when he is grown up; to endure the shocks of fortune, to bear riches or poverty, and to live, if occasion required, amid the snows of Iceland or on the burning rocks of the Malta. [...] It is of less moment to preserve him from death than to teach him how to live. To live is not merely to breather; it is to act, to make proper use of our organs, our senses, our faculties, and all parts of our being which contribute to our consciousness of life. he has not had most life who has lived most years, but he who has felt life the most. A man may be buried a hundred years old and have died in his cradle. Such a one would have gained by dying in youth if had lived till then." (Rousseau on Education, Introductory Passages from the "Emilie," Part 2. Education and the state)

Education as a Lifestyle

Education is about the here and now. Put in your very best into every aspect of what you're learning. Reach out to professors and jump at opportunities. Education isn't about sitting back in a lecture hall and letting it happen to you. Education is an action, one that requires persistent effort from all of our faculties. Sometimes it's tiring; you may feel like you're putting yourself out there, asking "stupid" questions or sending out applications that others wouldn't dare to try for. But that's an education!

Reaching out for knowledge and passion from your education is your education. Even when your hand falls short, you've gone farther and learned more than the people who didn't dare to reach.

Embracing the Moment

It's very important to focus on living life in the moment. I think that what makes each day valuable is appreciating the small moments. Enjoy every day and take advantage of the opportunities that the small times present. Even if it's just having dinner with a friend or finishing a book that seemed to take forever to get through, these are valuable achievements and memories. Your life isn't just major events or waiting for the next "big thing." Instead of putting off adventure, embrace it. Heck, go out there and create it! Certainly there will be failures, not everything is an exciting success the first time. Those failures are opportunities to laugh and learn, a skill which will serve you well as life changes constantly.

Don't wait for a perfect moment to start living; that moment doesn't exist before you put effort into creating it.