Eleanor Roosevelt nurtured an active, curious mind. She believed that “living and learning must go hand in hand,” and her philosophy played out in life and in print. She wrote about curiosity itself and about things that reflected her curiosity.
“This part of learning—learning as you go—gives life its salt. And this, too, comes back primarily to interest. You must be interested in anything that comes your way” (16).
This mindset is an asset for any person, especially a writer. Be interested in anything that comes your way. Pay attention. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Seek to understand.
Never, perhaps, have any of us needed as much as we do today to use all the curiosity we have, needed to seek new knowledge, needed to realize that no knowledge is terminal…. None of us can afford to stop learning or to check our curiosity about new things, or to lose our humility in the face of new situations. (16)
She urged people not to shy away from something that presents itself; instead, face it head-on.
We cannot say, “I have learned all I need to know; my opinions are fixed on everything. I refuse to change or to consider these new things.” Not today. Not any more. (16)
This growth mindset can keep us engaged with the world—with people—as we look around and try to grasp the meaning of whatever new thing we face, whatever new idea we encounter.
If you can develop this ability to see what you look at, to understand its meaning, to readjust your knowledge to this new information, you can continue to learn and to grow as long as you live and you’ll have a wonderful time doing it. (22)
Let’s look around with humility and curiosity to see, understand, and readjust, as needed…so we can learn and grow—and have a wonderful time doing it.
“None of us can afford to stop learning or to check our curiosity about new things, or to lose our humility in the face of new situations.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living
Source: Roosevelt, Eleanor. You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life. Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1960. Print. [p. 16]
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Leanne Sowul says
I am just reading “You Learn By Living” right now. It took me only a few pages to realize that I’d found a mentor in Eleanor Roosevelt, and a bible (of sorts) in this book. I had originally borrowed it from the library, but I had to buy my own copy because my fingers were itching for my highlighter! I’m going to write a post about it on my blog soon.
This is such an important lesson for these times in our country. Division can only be healed if we are all willing to learn from each other. Education and growth is how we come together.
Ann Kroeker says
Leanne, how wonderful you discovered a kindred spirit in Eleanor! I read this book years ago and when I pulled it off the shelf last night, all the yellow Post-its were still attached to the pages. I’m going to peel them off, read it through again, and do exactly what you said–mark it up like mad!