The Curriculum of Life

Mar 15, 2009 by

final exam
Creative Commons License photo credit: dcJohn

We are all looking to become a better person, but where should we start from?

Looking at ourselves, we see things that we need to work on. You can choose to work on your strengths when we talk about talents. But when we talk about characters, sooner or later, we need to work on our weaknesses and limitations. You want to be a better person, you want to understand yourself better. You want to change.

Looking at others, we see the various choices and decisions they have made. Should we try to follow their example? But that will be too many, which one should we pick?

Look at the book shelves, in library or book shops, a wide spectrum of knowledge to learn from. They can easily overwhelm you with the many different opinions, the many choices and things to learn from.

Look at advertisements, in newsletter or TV, you may see lots of offer and promotions. Classes, seminars, and books. They are touching our deepest desire to become a better person, to know more, to have more, and to become more of ourselves.

The lesson

Last year I shared a personal development course that I took, The Courage to Create. It deals a lot with digging ourselves. The program asked us to remember our past, traumas that formed our subconscious belief. When we found the promises and beliefs we have made, we can deal with them, and finally let go of them. The program is not cheap, and what they offer is quick identification of the subconscious beliefs, with the hope that your life will change as you are no longer controlled by them.

Do I regret taking the program? A bit. I learn many things about myself, but I found that I’m not even ready to face what I know. It gets me confused, I can’t even sure that things that I found out is correct or not. I may need to process my past more, but the follow up programs and sessions they offer is quite costly.

It’s only recently I learned an opposing point of view. It’s from Sy Rogers. From his biography, you will learn that he has struggle with his sexuality. He’s been living a gay life in most of his younger years. He was sexually abused by his uncle, and that caused his insecurity on his manhood. He was even almost undergoing sex change operation.

Eventually he was touched by God’s love and the church community he was in. It took a long process and commitment. And now he has married and has a daughter. And even more he has become an inspiring speaker in the area of sexual redemption.

Sy Rogers changed, not according to his own way, but God’s way. He mentioned that when we desire change, we sometimes overtake God’s way. It might be an honorable desire to become a better person, but it shows how impatience we are to change. God doesn’t want us to deal with all our problems at once. He has a process He wants us to go through. He does not take away the difficult people and circumstances from our life because He wanted us to learn from them. He wanted us to take His curriculum, the curriculum of life.

The curriculum of life

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Henry Matthews in his book, Follow Your Heart shared about the 3 perspectives of life we can choose.

  1. “Why do bad things always happen to me?”
  2. “Life is a lottery, but I make the most of whatever comes along”
  3. “My life is a series of lessons I need, happening in perfect order”

Which one will you choose?

The first one will guarantee you a life of misery and frustration. The second one is slightly better, giving an average quality of life, but it’s only the third one that will give you guaranteed peace of mind.

Have you started living? We often wish a different self, a different personality, a different challenge. Maybe it’s out of our impatience for the future that we forgot to live in the presence.

You can dig up all the subconscious belief you are in, you may put a lot of effort to become a perfect person, but the best lesson you’ve got to take is the lesson from your life NOW.

When we fail to learn a lesson, we get to take it again… and again! Once we have learned the lesson, we move on to the next one. (And we never run out of lessons!)
~Andrew Matthews (Follow Your Heart)

And who are you getting the lesson from?

Every person who walks into your life is a teacher. Even if they drive you nuts, they teach you because they show you where your limits are. Just because people are your teachers doesn’t mean you have to like them.
~Andrew Matthews (Follow Your Heart)

One said that even if we think we have become a better person, it’s not proven until it’s tested in relationship. One major character that rob us from learning is our defensiveness. As I shared with you as a lesson from the book Egonomics (review), it will try to justify your behaviors. It is the perception that what people think bad about you are wrong. Only when we really engage with the life and circumstance we are in right now, we can learn from it.

Yeah, this is the school of life, and they have its curriculum. It’s up to you to join any personal development or motivational program, but will you also learn from life? That’s the least you have to take. Whether you want it or not, the life has taught you lessons. If you learn from it, you go to the next level, otherwise, you’ll stay in the same level, again and again.

For your growth,

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  1. Thanks Robert.

    My view is that God is on our side.  That the self put to death isn’t who we’re meant to be and that it is our true self that is resurrected.

    Self-development programs can be difficult.  I think they need to educate the participants so they can get on with living on their own, rather than relying on the program.  It sounds like the one you did expected you to just believe what they said and change accordingly.

    I very much agree with you that life is our teacher.  The courses that help us with this boil down to being able to learn from our experiences.  I think they can have lots to teach us about this and can be incredibly useful.  But like you say the curriculum is our life.

  2. Hi Evan, thanks! Yes, anyway, the program has become a part of my life, means that it has become a part of my curriculum. I’ll just take whatever I’ve gained and move forward, learning from my life right now. And as you said, I can’t always rely on this program to boost me up.

    Thanks so much! Glad you enjoy my article!
    Keep in touch,

  3. Robert, the title is interesting “The curriculum of life”.
    We always try to be someone else or the environment try to change us. It would be a great achievement if we can be ourselves.
    Great article Robert, thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Robert.

    I know I am here for the lessons. But it took me a long time to even get to that point. I use to solve things by running away. Unfortunately what you run away from has a nasty habit of finding you and tapping you on the shoulder.

    Once in LA I had this huge realization of exactly how long I had been running away. Spiritually I’d been running a very long time.

    Once I understood I needed to turn to face all those ghosts, I began to understand the lessons.

    Now I say, I’m ready: bring on the next lesson. The more I get through the greater my presence in this wonderful moment.

    Thanks for this. It is your best yet.


  5. Arswino & Nick, thanks a bunch. Glad you learn something out of this article.
    Nick, thanks for sharing your story, graduation is always something worth celebrating. So.. all the best for your next lesson =)
    Really thank you for the encouragement!


  6. “The difference between a successful man and an unsuccessful one is this: the former keeps going when he is tempted to give up in spite of the temptation to become depressed and discouraged, while the latter gives up, slackens his efforts because he gives way to depression and discouragement.” – Henry T. Hamblin

  7. What a quote, thanks Nicole!

  8. I share the opinion that the life is our teacher,everyday I ask myself a question”What does the problem of the day teach me and why is it in my life?”

  9. Why do bad things always happen to me? – This is what  I think a part of our scheduled or as usual life which we  all believe.  Robert, this is the thing which people generally find in their curriculum of life.  There is a little need to change a view towards this thing and for that only one thing always works and that is patience; but its not too easy as it seems.

  10. @bardy, patience is often underrated attribute. When faced with difficult circumstances, I can either change my attitude or change my cicumstance. While the later is not always possible, changing our attitude will make a practice of patience.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  11. @game-girl, a wonderful question. It’s a surprise for me too, if i’m willing to take da look deeply, there is some lesson too. Enjoy each day we are given as an opportunity to grow.

  12. The question of life curriculum almost reminds me of the “glass half full or half empty” paradigm. I like the Mathews quote about our life teachers. It’s a nice way of looking at things. Hmm this program you speak of, it sounds like psychoanalysis?

  13. Hi gas card,
    The program seems to be related with regression technique.

    It’s pretty effective in finding out the problem buried inside, the subconscious belief we have since young. It’s good if you’re looking for a fast lane to understand/fix your behavior. My point here is that the fast one doesn’t always answer what we need.

    I’ll choose the curriculum of life. =)

  14. Thanks for sharing this Robert. Addicted to this site now. 🙂


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