This Chinese proverb was shared in a talk this morning. Literal translation:

Through one incident

Grow wisdom

The focus of the talk was on community. The benefits of; how we grow in, and as; and how we all play a part in community.

It was also posed that as people we are designed, or wired if you prefer, for community.

I like the intentionality -as it reads to me- of these words,

One should learn from an incident or experience in his life and deposit some goods into his wisdom.

I have a friend who often says,

Dari semuanya dapat pelajaran” – From everything there is a lesson.

Recently we have talked about the challenge of whether that always applies. As well as the difficulty to sometimes see what in the world the lesson could possibly be.

However, I think we both agree that there is definitely some truth to be found in those words. I also think my friend’s point of view resonates with the Chinese proverb.

The process of learning -at its best- is an active one. It involves receiving information either taught or experienced, engaging or reflecting on what was learnt, then applying (doing or acting on) what was learnt. Which is often what cements the learning.

– based on Kolb’s Theory of Learning Styles

When life happens (incidents, experience, etc.), it can be beneficial to intentionally take a moment to reflect on anything we can learn from it. Anything we can apply to future choices or endeavours etc.

Now I’m not talking about analysing every choice or incident. Because

a) If you’ve run out of toilet roll, or forgotten to buy eggs, for most of us there is not a big lesson to be learnt.

b) Sometimes, in my opinion, stuff just happens. It can be horrible, and appear to have no rhyme or reason. And sometimes we just have to accept that, and try to put one in front of the other.

However, I do think we should aim to take more note of things. Something that in our current fast paced world we may not be inclined, or naturally have space to do. As in the incidents and experiences of life, there are definitely opportunities to “grow in wisdom”. Opportunities to “deposit” something for the future.

This not just for ourselves, but for those around us. Those who are a part of our community, and we a part of theirs.